Covid in China: Shanghai cases soar, largescale lockdown respite unlikely

Shanghai’s 25 million residents continue to battle the worst Omicron-drive Covid-19 outbreak with a massive majority still locked down, some for three-to-four weeks since March.
Volunteers in protective suits prepare to disinfect a residential compound in Huangpu district, to curb the spread of Covid-19, in Shanghai, China, on Thursday. (REUTERS)
Volunteers in protective suits prepare to disinfect a residential compound in Huangpu district, to curb the spread of Covid-19, in Shanghai, China, on Thursday. (REUTERS)
Updated on Apr 15, 2022 03:04 AM IST
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China’s financial hub Shanghai on Thursday reported over 27,000 Covid-19 cases including 2,573 symptomatic infections, a record number for a day, as President Xi Jinping said that the country must continue with its strict “dynamic Covid clearance” policy and pandemic control measures.

The mainland Covid-19 numbers were also the highest: 29,317 cases including 2,999 symptomatic cases, according to the national health commission’s (NHC) daily bulletin released on Thursday morning.

Shanghai’s 25 million residents continue to battle the worst Omicron-drive Covid-19 outbreak with a massive majority still locked down, some for three-to-four weeks since March.

Lockdown restrictions have only been partially eased in some localities, which have not reported fresh cases for two weeks.

The municipal health commission of Shanghai said on Thursday that the city currently has nine Covid-19 patients in severe condition since the resurgence of the epidemic in March.

“Eight of the severe cases are older people aged between 70 and 93, the commission said, adding that all of them had high-risk factors such as serious underlying diseases, and none of them were vaccinated against Covid-19,” the official news agency, Xinhua reported.

Chances of further easing of the lockdown seemed to have waned after Xi called for sticking to current Covid-containing policies.

Speaking during a visit to south China’s Hainan island, Xi, quoted by Chinese-state controlled radio, indicated there would be no immediate change of approach in pandemic control measures.

According to the state radio report, Xi said the country must stick to its approach, which has all but shut China’s borders to international travel, and not relax prevention measures.

“It is risky for Covid-19 patients who are asymptomatic to stay home instead of in centralised quarantine, as they might cause further transmission and miss the optimal treatment period,” said

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told the state-run tabloid, Global Times. “Failure to detect and treat their symptoms in a timely manner may result in the continued spread of the virus,” Wu said, adding: “They may also miss the optimal treatment period.”

The economic outlook is increasingly grim. “China, the world’s second-largest economy and the largest manufacturer, has been facing a rising risk of recession since mid-March. We believe global markets continue to underestimate the impact, likely owing to the majority of focus on the Russian-Ukraine conflict and US Fed rate hikes. In our opinion, the markets should also be concerned about the delayed spring planting of grain in China,” the Nomura financial services said in a note, released on Wednesday.


    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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