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China: Shanghai looks to end 7-week strict Covid lockdown soon

By Livemint
The strict lockdown – now in its seventh week – has been a cause of much frustration among the residents (AFP)

Shanghai vice mayor We Qing recently said that the goal is to achieve “elimination in society", meaning any new cases of Covid would only be in people already in isolation.

She said it would allow for an “orderly opening, limited (population) flow, and differentiated management".

Although no exact date beyond the middle of the month was given, Wu said that the city intends to gradually restore industrial production, education and medical services.

Similar past assurances have been made by Shanghai officials earlier as well, only for the restrictions to return even as cases wane in the city of 25 million people.

The strict lockdown – now in its seventh week – has been a cause of much frustration among the residents. Complaints about food shortages and other hardships and videos posted online show people in Shanghai and other areas arguing with police.

The restrictions are a part of the government's zero-Covid policy, which has garnered criticism from several quarters, including the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

WHO director-general Tedros on Tuesday called China's policy unsustainable in view of the constantly changing behaviour of the coronavirus and called on Beijing to shift its strategy.

“As we all know the virus is evolving, changing its behaviour and becoming more transmissible. With that changing behaviour, changing your measures will be very important," Tedros said.

“When we talk about zero Covid strategy, we don't think it is sustainable considering the behaviour of the virus now what we anticipate in the future, especially when we have now the good knowledge and understanding of the virus," he told a media briefing in Geneva.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian dismissed the statements and called on WHO to stop making "irresponsible" remarks. 

“We hope the relevant individual will make objective and reasonable views of China’s epidemic protocol and policy and try to get a better understanding of the facts and refrain from making irresponsible remarks," said Lijan. 

Several other experts have also questioned the policy's continued use given vaccines are widely available, and it has affected growth in the world's second-largest economy as well as global supply chains.

Shanghai reported 2,096 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, all but 227 of them in people not showing symptoms. Beijing reported 50 cases, in line with recent daily totals.

With inputs from agencies. 

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Dive Deeper:
As Shanghai nears end of lockdown, China's Covid angst grows
BEIJING: After six weeks of confining people to their homes, enduring food shortages and the constant fear of being forcibly…
China censors zero-Covid debate after WHO criticises policy
Beijing (AFP) - China's censors scrambled to wipe out online debate over its zero-Covid strategy on Wednesday after the World…
Shanghai seeks to ease seven-week virus lockdown with next few days
Shanghai will try to reopen within a few days as a Covid-19 outbreak in China’s largest city subsides, an official…
WHO: COVID-19 falling everywhere, except Americas and Africa
The World Health Organization says the number of new coronavirus cases reported worldwide has continued to fall except in the…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
‘Irresponsible remarks’: China censors WHO chief criticism of zero-Covid policy
WHO director-general Tedros on Tuesday called China's policy unsustainable in view of the constantly changing behaviour of the coronavirus and…
China criticises ‘irresponsible’ WHO remarks on zero-Covid approach
China has defended sticking to its strict zero-Covid approach, calling critical remarks from the head of the World Health Organisation…
Get all your news in one place