Shanghai lockdown: city reaches milestone as it keeps community infections at zero for the third day, putting city en route to June’s reopening

  • Daily new cases fell for the fourth day, dropping 12.3 per cent to 823 in the past 24 hours, according to data released on Tuesday
  • Symptomatic cases rose 11.6 per cent to 77, while one patient died

Shanghai reached a milestone after keeping community infections at zero for the third day, giving authorities the confidence to relax some of the measures that have kept three of every 100 residents locked down, en route to a full return to normalcy by the end of June.

Daily new cases fell for the fourth day, dropping 12.3 per cent to 823 in the past 24 hours, according to data released on Tuesday. Symptomatic cases rose 11.6 per cent to 77, while one patient died. The total death toll since April 18 increased to 576, or 0.09 per cent of the 621,000 in the city of 25 million people who have caught the disease.

“All 16 districts in the city have achieved the societal zero-Covid goal,” the deputy director of Shanghai’s health commission Zhao Dandan said during a press briefing, adding that 860,000 people are living in “lockdown areas” with their residential compounds entirely sealed off.

Societal zero-Covid is a watershed moment in Shanghai’s anti-pandemic work, after which the city will ease the draconian virus control measures that have upended daily lives and strained global supply chains close to breaking point amid a citywide lockdown. The city has reached the milestone three days ahead of the May 20 target set by Executive Vice-Mayor Wu Qing.

“The focus will shift to drastically resume production and commercial activities,” said Wang Feng, chairman of Shanghai-based financial service group Ye Lang Capital. “But the pace [of resumption] will be slow, because zero-Covid is still the primary goal targeted by the local and central authorities.”

Shanghai, one of China’s largest population centres and the country’s commercial hub, plans to relax the city’s lockdown on June 1, in a phased plan to gradually return the city’s businesses and production to normal by late June, Vice-Mayor Zong Ming said on Monday.

Some shopping centres, supermarkets, restaurants and barber shops around residential compounds that had been free of community infections for the past 14 days reopened on Monday.

Residents in low-risk “precautionary zones” that had been case-free for 14 days were also allowed to leave their compound, Zong said.

Shanghai went into a citywide lockdown on April 1 amid a flare-up in the outbreak, and the city has been aiming to achieve the societal zero-Covid goal since mid-April by issuing at least three rounds of stop work and standstill orders to curb the movements by even medical workers, food-delivery staff and volunteers.

Author: Daniel Ren, SCMP

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