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Shanghai records zero new cases for first time since March


China is the last major economy to still stick to a “zero Covid” strategy aimed at eliminating all spread through massive testing, targeted lockdowns and long quarantines.

Shanghai announced no new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, a first since the beginning of March and the appearance of the epidemic in the city, giving rise to several months of confinements and restrictions.

“There were no confirmed locally transmitted Covid-19 cases and no new local asymptomatic infections in Shanghai on June 24, 2022,” the city said in a statement.

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China is the last major economy to still stick to a “zero Covid” strategy aimed at eliminating all spread through massive testing, targeted lockdowns and long quarantines.

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China’s economic capital was shut down for several months, after a spike in infections fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Despite the theoretical lifting of containment in early June, the 25 million inhabitants of Shanghai have had to wait for a return to normal life because of new restrictions by neighborhoods with each appearance of new cases.

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Millions of residents were locked down again two weeks ago after a government-ordered mass screening campaign.

Back to school

In Beijing, restrictions first imposed in May were eased as infections fell, but tightened again after an outbreak broke out in a bar.

After several days of mass testing and targeted containment, the “Heaven Supermarket” contamination chain, named after the bar, has been brought under control, Beijing authorities assured last week.

The city’s school affairs office then announced on Saturday that elementary and middle school students could return to class on Monday.

School staff, students and their parents must, however, present a negative PCR test before returning and are called upon to “limit outings and avoid gatherings”, the administration said on social networks.

Beijing recorded two new local cases on Saturday.

For its part, Shenzhen, a major industrial center in the south, announced on Saturday the closure for three days of wholesale markets, cinemas and sports halls in a central district bordering Hong Kong, after the discovery of cases in this city.

China assures that its “zero Covid” policy is necessary to avoid a health catastrophe, with authorities particularly concerned about the unequal distribution of medical resources and the low rate of vaccination among the elderly population.

But the strategy has damaged the world’s second-largest economy, and the strict enforcement of the law has also sparked protests, as well as encouraged the departure of foreign companies and middle-class families.



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