SHANGHAI — Parts of Shanghai began imposing new lockdown restrictions on Thursday, with residents of the sprawling Minhang district ordered to stay at home for two days in a bid to control the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Minhang, home to more than 2 million people, will conduct nucleic acid testing for all residents on June 11, and restrictions will be lifted once testing is complete, the government said on its WeChat account.
Shanghai reported four new confirmed symptomatic cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, all in areas already under quarantine. None of the new cases were in Minhang district.
Shanghai emerged from a two-month citywide lockdown last week, but some residential compounds have been cordoned off again as authorities continue to pursue a ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ policy aimed at shutting down chains transmission as soon as possible.
This means authorities are quickly enforcing movement restrictions and testing requirements in areas where not only positive cases, but also their close contacts, live or have visited.
Several government authorities at street level have issued notices saying residents will be subject to two days of confinement and another 12 days of rigorous testing starting Thursday.
According to notices from at least three neighborhoods in Shanghai, residents will undergo five rounds of mandatory tests ending on June 23 and will be kept indoors until Saturday.
Green fences and red wooden planks have sprung up over the past week along some of these streets near these neighborhoods, barricading residents and sparking further public anger.
Zhao Dandan, the deputy head of Shanghai’s health commission, told a briefing on Tuesday that the city would continue to enforce restrictions even in areas that had not been identified as “high risk”.
“Based on the assessment of epidemic prevention and control trends, related measures will be dynamically adjusted,” he said. “We hope the public will continue to understand and cooperate.”
City officials have tried to balance their embrace of zero-COVID with encouraging business to resume, given how badly the local economy and businesses have been hit by the two-month lockdown.
The Shanghai Disney Resort, which has been closed since March 21, said it will reopen some retail and park areas from Friday, but the main Disneyland park, Disneytown and its two resort hotels will remain closed until at new order.
Officials in the city, China’s most cosmopolitan and its biggest business hub, have also tried to forge ties with foreign companies by holding several meetings with leaders and relaxing a key border requirement for foreign workers.
Still, chambers of commerce said uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 restrictions remained a major concern for foreign businesses.
“This unpredictability and heightened risk is causing many companies to delay, scale back or pull out of the Chinese market entirely,” said Alexandra Hirst, senior policy analyst at the British Chamber of Commerce in China.
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