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China declares lockdown amid fresh spike in COVID-19 cases

Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), work among patients lying in beds at a makeshift treatment area outside a hospital, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Hong Kong, China February 17, 2022. REUTERS/Lam Yik

On Friday, China reported the largest daily number of coronavirus cases in two years, as officials in Shanghai and other major cities increased targeted lockdowns and testing to combat the highly transmissible Omicron variety.

The news: The Chinese city with a population of 9 million has been ordered to lock down as the country reported its highest daily surge of coronavirus cases in two years on Friday.

  • Authorities are gradually eschewing the use of broad city-wide lockdowns in favour of a more tailored response, as public dissatisfaction with China’s rigorous zero-covid stance grows.
  • As authorities seize on suspected close-contact situations, this has resulted in viral photographs in Shanghai showing students and professors imprisoned for up to 48 hours on campuses and clients kept in restaurants or malls until they are retested.
  • Cases of Covid have surpassed 1,000 for the first time since the pandemic began, up from less than 100 just three weeks ago.
  • According to the most recent daily official count issued on Friday, there were 1,369 cases spread across more than a dozen regions.

What they said: In a social media statement on Thursday, Shanghai mayor Gong Zheng underlined the city’s more concentrated approach.

  • “It is vital to take more accurate and effective preventative and control measures, track down the source and conduct deep and extensive screening work, (and) delimit close contact scientifically and accurately,” he said.
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