Shanghai carries out staggered lockdown, vows to ensure sufficient daily commodities in closed-loop management
Published: Mar 28, 2022 01:23 PM
Shanghai residents line up to purchase daily commodities in Pudong on Sunday night, which will be put under closed-loop management from Monday to Friday. Photo: VCG

Shanghai residents line up to purchase daily commodities in Pudong on Sunday night, which will be put under closed-loop management from Monday to Friday. Photo: VCG

Shanghai carried out a staggered lockdown starting on Monday in Pudong and Puxi (divided by the Huangpu River) in turn and mass nucleic acid tests will be conducted in the city covering over 6,340 square kilometers and with a population of over 24 million to cut out hidden transmission routes in communities to curb the rapid spread of Omicron.

Shanghai reported a record number of 50 local transmitted COVID-19 cases and 3,450 local asymptomatic infections amid this round of outbreak on Monday. Among the 3,450 local asymptomatic carriers, 2,833 were found under the closed-loop mechanism.

This round of epidemic in Shanghai is characterized by the coexistence of regional clusters and sporadic cases distributed across the entire city, Wu Fan, a leading expert from Shanghai's COVID-19 medical team said at Monday's press briefing. Wu noted that it's necessary to conduct strict measures to reduce the personnel flow and find the hidden infections and cut the transmission among communities.

Shanghai conducted traffic restrictions in certain areas from Monday to Friday for mass nucleic acid testing in the city's east. And citizens are required not to leave the city unless it's necessary, for those citizens who need to leave, they have to take a negative nucleic acid test within 48 hours.

Since Tuesday night, individual video about Shanghai residents rushing to purchase daily commodities went viral online, with many netizens showing their concerns that gathering might cause more infections, despite the city's authorities having emphasized that daily commodities will be ensured in an orderly manner. 

Shen Susu, a 42-year-old resident living in Pudong joined the throng of people buying foods at a supermarket on Sunday night after she got the message from her friends around 9 pm that all the communities in Pudong would be put under closed-loop management and the public transportation in the area would be suspended for four days from Monday. 

"When I arrived at the supermarket, all the shelves of vegetables and foods had been emptied and I had to pick up the leftovers," Shen told the Global Times on Monday, who eventually spent almost three hours queuing to check-out.

In some supermarkets, residents were still lining up in an orderly manner to purchase goods. On Monday morning, outside an RT-Mart store located in Jing'an district of Puxi, residents lined up for over 200 meters to wait to go to the supermarket to purchase more daily commodities as backup.

"I'm not worried, as my community has been put under closed-loop management for 14 days and we have prepared daily commodities sufficiently," a 41-year-old resident living in Pudong surnamed Wu told the Global Times on Monday. "The only thing we need to do is to follow the instructions and we hope the virus' spread can be curbed as soon as possible; our daily normal life will come back."

The authorities said on Monday that they have conducted measures including increasing purchase quantity, channels and ensuring the normal operation of certain enterprises providing daily commodities for residents.  

"Shanghai has to conduct stricter measures, but it still does not mean Shanghai is taking a one-size-fits-all approach," Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based expert on infectious diseases, told the Global Times on Monday. Residents should cooperate with the new round of closed-loop management to combat the virus together, Tao noted.

On Sunday night, a meeting was led by the city's Party chief Li Qiang, stressing that a new round of nucleic acid screening is a key step in prevention and control. Li called for unified resolve to take stronger and more decisive measures to eliminate risk and cut the transmission chain soon, to curb the virus' spread among communities.

From 5 am Monday to 5 am Friday, the first batch of regions in Pudong New Area will be put under lockdown for four days and two nucleic acid tests will be conducted within at least 24 hours; while Puxi area will be put under lockdown for four days from Friday to April 5, and the same measures will be conducted, according to the authorities.

From Monday to Friday, the key regions in Puxi will still be put under closed-loop management and non-key regions will conduct a round of COVID-19 antigen tests. Airports, railways and international passenger and freight services will be operating normally, the authorities said.

"I was allowed to go out for regular antenatal care under the closed-loop mechanism. I'm not concerned as express delivery and logistics still work to ensure our daily routine," a 31-year-old resident surnamed Huang told the Global Times on Monday, who is living in Pudong. 

"Closed-loop management protects us from the virus," Huang said, noting that she found the street was empty and nearby stores were closed when she went out on Monday.