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China’s Biggest COVID-19 Lockdown in 2 Years Has Been Started In Shanghai

China has started its most extensive coronavirus lockdown in two years to carry out mass testing and control a growing outbreak in Shanghai.

Shanghai’s Pudong financial district and nearby areas will be locked down from Monday to Friday.

Residents will be required to stay home, and deliveries will be left at checkpoints to ensure there is no contact with the outside world. offices will be closed. Public transport will be halted too.

Li Jiamin, 31, who works in the finance industry, said she had packed several days of clothing and supplies, and her company was sorting out sleeping and eating arrangements.

“The overall impact is still great,” Li told The Associated Press, pointing especially to losses suffered by workers in the informal sector who have no such support.

Huang Qi, 35, who works at a local university, said he had undergone a lockdown at home before and prepared for the new round by stocking up.

“I think if the closure continues like this, our school workers will not be affected much, but what about those who work in the real economy? How can their business be maintained?” Huang said.

“I still hope that our society can find a better balance between ensuring normal life and epidemic prevention and control,” Huang added.

Shanghai detected another 3,500 cases of infection on Sunday but only 50 people tested positive.

Nationwide, 1,219 new confirmed cases of domestic infection were detected on Sunday, more than 1,000 of them in the northeastern province of Jilin, along with 4,996 asymptomatic cases, the National Health Commission reported on Monday.

Two deaths were reported on March 20 in Jilin. Before that, mainland China’s official death toll had stood at 4,636 for a year.

Shanghai has converted two gymnasiums, an exhibition hall, and other facilities to house potentially infected patients.

China has called its long-standing “zero-tolerance” approach the most economical and effective prevention strategy against COVID-19.

The new measures being enforced in Shanghai aim to “curb the virus spread, protect people’s life and health, and achieve the dynamic zero-COVID target as soon as possible,” the city’s COVID-19 prevention and control office stated in an announcement Sunday evening.

On Friday, the International Air Transport Association announced it was moving its annual general meeting from Shanghai to Doha, citing “continuing COVID-19 related restrictions on travel to China.”

“It is deeply disappointing that we are not able to meet in Shanghai as planned,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said in a news release.

In Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the government was still considering the next steps in what has been criticized as a halting response to a recent fifth wave of COVID-19 infections that have led to tens of thousands of cases and more than 7,000 deaths.

“I don’t have a timetable yet. It’s not easy to predetermine a timetable, in the same way, that I don’t know how quickly the cases will come down,” Lam told reporters at a daily briefing.