Shanghai reimposes containment after detecting 11 Covid cases

Barely a week after China’s Communist Party declared victory in its fight to protect Shanghai from the coronavirus, half of the financial hub’s neighborhoods will be closed this weekend to test millions of residents after signs of coronavirus emerged. a new community transmission of the virus.

China’s most populous city, which was only released last week from a two-month lockdown, detected 11 new infections on Thursday, including six outside the city’s mass quarantine centers.

The measures will affect eight of the financial hub’s 16 districts, including Pudong, one of the hardest-hit areas at the start of the lockdown.

Three cases have been detected at the downtown Red Rose beauty salon, prompting health authorities to test more than 90,000 people near the salon.

Just days earlier, local party body Xuhui had written a celebratory post on microblogging platform Weibo welcoming the reopening of the salon on June 1 for customers who had gone weeks without a professional haircut. He said the resumption of business at the state-run salon reflected the improving “pandemic situation” in the city. The post has since been deleted.

Wang Hongwei, a local party official in Xuhui District, said authorities were investigating whether the salon had introduced adequate virus prevention measures after it was discovered that one of its employees had not carried out mandatory PCR test.

The city government’s lockdown directive means residents in affected areas will not be allowed out of their compound during mass testing rounds.

The reintroduction of restrictions just days after city residents returned to the streets of Shanghai underscored the difficulty of crushing the highly contagious variant of Omicron through mass testing and strict lockdowns.

China’s adherence to its controversial zero Covid policy has hammered the economy, and the latest restrictions will further weigh on consumer spending. Chinese producer prices rose at their slowest pace in more than a year in May as lockdowns depressed demand for important industrial goods.

National Bureau of Statistics data released on Friday showed prices rose just 6.4% from the same period a year ago, the slowest rate of factory gate inflation since March 2021.

Any decision to extend the lockdown beyond the weekend will depend on the number of community cases uncovered by mass testing.

Covid testing has become an integral part of life in China. Cities have introduced mandates that anyone wishing to enter a public place must undergo regular testing.

Shanghai has established around 15,000 testing sites for its 26 million people. Experts said the huge spending on testing programs and expanding existing quarantine facilities was a sign that policymakers plan to stick to the zero-Covid strategy until 2023, despite its economic cost. raised.

Following news of the impending lockdown, Shanghai residents rushed to supermarkets to stock up on fresh produce ahead of another extended shutdown.

Beijing is also on high alert after a cluster of cases was detected in Chaoyang on Thursday, linked to entertainment venues in the capital’s largest district.

Additional reporting by Maiqi Ding in Beijing, Wang Xueqiao in Shanghai and William Langley in Hong Kong

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