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Hong Kong to test entire population, Shanghai struggles with lockdown


Authorities have placed the other half of the city, Puxi, under isolation with non-essential businesses and public transport brought to a stop and roads cleared of cars and people. A total of 14 million Puxi residents were tested on Friday, according to state media.

Near-deserted highways in the Puxi area of Shanghai as the city locks down.

Near-deserted highways in the Puxi area of Shanghai as the city locks down.Credit:Bloomberg

Residents under isolation complained of difficulty obtaining food, household items and medications, while beds and staff at isolation centres were reportedly insufficient for the number of asymptomatic patients and others being brought there for observation.

China detected another 2086 confirmed cases on Saturday, including 260 in Shanghai, and 7789 asymptomatic cases, of which 6051 were in Shanghai.

Total numbers of new cases have been near record highs for several days, but no new deaths have been reported since March 20, leaving China’s total at 4638. China has recorded a total of 153,232 cases, according to the National Health Commission.

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Compared to Wuhan in 2020, Shanghai has benefited from China’s experience and is better prepared, even though the outbreak is wider in scale, Chen Erzhen, commander of the third contingent of medical teams dispatched to the city, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua Daily newspaper.

That’s because the Omicron BA.2 variant is more infectious though less virulent, leading to the large number of asymptomatic cases, which China has categorised separately from “confirmed” cases.

“There is more pressure because the larger number of patients increases the task of controlling the outbreak,” Chen said. “But at present, Shanghai’s situation is under control and we’ll continue to treat and isolate as necessary.”

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