Shanghai Covid Cases Top 13,000 as Millions Locked Down

  • Case surge shows challenge in returning to Covid Zero goal
  • Residents face lengthy quarantine even as lockdown nears end

Shanghai reported more than 13,000 daily Covid cases for the first time, as a sweeping lockdown of its 25 million residents and mass testing uncovered extensive spread of the highly infectious omicron variant.

The outbreak in the Chinese financial hub pushed the national total total to 16,412 local infections for Monday, the highest one-day figure recorded in the world’s second-largest economy during the pandemic — clouding its growth outlook and threatening to disrupt the global supply chain.

China’s current outbreak is surpassing a level not seen since February 2020, when a one-day correction in the way it tracked cases pushed daily infections past 15,000, largely concentrated in Wuhan. The ballooning number in Shanghai, despite a city-wide lockdown, underscores the challenge the nation faces in returning to President Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero goal.

Neighborhood volunteers transport bags of vegetables delivered by the government in Shanghai, on April 3.Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg


Shanghai registered 13,354 local cases for Monday, up from 9,006 a day earlier and from near zero at the start of March, according to a local government statement. While a two-phase lockdown of the city officially ends early Tuesday, the widespread infections mean most residential blocks remain subject to quarantine for days or even weeks.

Thousands of medical staff from around China have arrived in the city to help with testing, Xinhua News Agency reported. The People’s Liberation Army has also mobilized more than 2,000 military medics to support Shanghai’s virus control efforts, according to the PLA Daily.

Businesses and some factories remain shuttered, with Tesla Inc.’s Shanghai plant — its first Gigafactory outside of the U.S. — entering a second week of disrupted operation.

Deserted highways in Shanghai, on April 2.Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg


Beijing has sent Vice Premier Sun Chunlan to Shanghai to oversee prevention efforts. Sun ordered local officials to curtail the outbreak “as soon as possible,” indicating China remains wedded to its rigid Covid Zero stance despite the escalating crisis. For much of the pandemic the nation has sought to eliminate the virus, something that’s become more challenging as the pathogen has mutated to become more transmissible, evading even the toughest border curbs and quarantine regimes.

China is the last country in the world to still be taking such a hard line with Covid, after other places that pursued elimination, including Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, started to open up once vaccination reached key levels.

While Xi has vowed to reduce the economic and social impact of his Covid-fighting measures, Shanghai’s outbreak has caused a surge in local food prices as residents race to stock up on supplies, and made it difficult for residents with chronic medical conditions to get much-needed treatment.

Source: Bloomberg

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