Shanghai Imposes ‘Snap Lockdown’ for Mass Virus Testing

Health workers in protective gear walk out from a blocked off area after spraying disinfectant in Shanghai's Huangpu district on January 27, 2021, after residents were evacuated following the detection of a few cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in the neighbourhood. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by …
STR/AFP via Getty Images

Shanghai’s government announced a snap lockdown Tuesday across 9 of its 16 residential districts to allow officials to conduct mass testing for the Chinese coronavirus, Xinhua News Agency reported, adding that the movement restrictions will last through Thursday.

All residents across the following districts were confined to their homes effective July 5: Huangpu, Xuhui, Changning, Jing’an, Putuo, Hongkou, Yangpu, Minhang, and Baoshan. An unspecified number of residents in the Shanghai districts of Pudong New Area, Jiading, and Fengxian were additionally ordered to obey stay-at-home orders on July 5, according to Xinhua, China’s official state press agency. The movement restrictions were slated to last through July 7 while city health workers screen residents for the Chinese coronavirus.

“During the testing, people living in the affected districts would be required to show a test taken within the last two days to leave their homes,” Shanghai’s municipal government wrote in a message posted by its official WeChat social media account, as reported by Reuters.

“No household or person should be missed,” Shanghai’s government said Tuesday of its mass testing scheme.

Shanghai health officials ordered the 72-hour lockdown after claiming to detect a fresh Chinese coronavirus cluster infection this week tied to a karaoke bar. The lounge had been recently frequented by residents from several Shanghai districts.

Police and officials wearing protective gear work in an area where barriers are being placed to close off streets around a locked down neighbourhood after the detection of new cases of Covid-19 in Shanghai on March 15, 2022. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Police and officials wearing protective gear work in an area where barriers are being placed to close off streets around a locked down neighborhood after the detection of new cases of Covid-19 in Shanghai on March 15, 2022. (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

“The testing efforts aim to detect and control the risk of the virus spreading as soon as possible,” the city’s anti-epidemic control group said on July 5.

Shanghai’s municipal health commission reported eight new locally transmitted Chinese coronavirus cases on July 4, “seven of which it said were found in quarantined areas,” according to Reuters and Xinhua.

Shanghai’s government recently claimed to have ended a previous Chinese coronavirus lockdown edict that affected all 25 million-plus of its residents for 65 consecutive days. That stay-at-home order officially lasted from March 28 to June 1, though reports indicated that the lockdown never fully lifted for certain districts.

Shanghai continued to impose movement restrictions on its populace throughout the month of June, with many of these constraints scheduled to remain in effect through the end of July, Reuters reported Tuesday.

“The city already requires all of its districts to organise mass testing of residents every weekend until the end of July. Residents also need to test themselves every three days in order to enter public areas such as shopping malls or take public transport,” the news agency noted.

Shanghai has not said what it plans to do with residents who test positive across the 12 districts ordered to undergo Chinese coronavirus testing this week, though it indicated on Sunday that it may force them into city-run quarantine sites.

“As of 4 p.m. Sunday [July 3], 99 close contacts and 35 sub-close contacts had been identified for quarantine,” Xinhua reported, referring to close contacts of patients tied to the city’s karaoke bar cluster infection.

Shanghai’s previous Chinese coronavirus lockdowns have harmed not only its economy but also those of greater China and the world. Shanghai is considered the financial mecca of China, which is itself ranked as the second-largest economy worldwide. The metropolis boasts the globe’s busiest shipping container port and dozens of manufacturing plants owned by the world’s top multinational companies, including the electronics giant Apple and the electric vehicle maker Tesla.

World Health Organization (W.H.O.) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus condemned China’s stringent Chinese coronavirus lockdowns as “unsustainable” on May 10. In response, Chinese state internet censors banned users of the country’s highly regulated internet from sharing comments by the W.H.O. and reportedly censored photos of Tedros.


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