The return of lockdown in Shanghai
In China, the city of Shanghai is facing an upsurge of cases related to the Omicron variant. The east of the city will be confined from Monday.
Back to square one as in 2020, the containment is back in Shanghai. Faced with an epidemic rebound linked to the Omicron variant, the government of China’s largest city, with a population of 25 million, has announced that an area-based containment will be put in place from Monday. The east of Shanghai will be confined for the next five days, followed by the west of the city for the same period. The objective is to allow the screening of the population.
The Ministry of Health reported on Sunday that more than 4,500 people were newly infected with the disease, a figure that was more than 1,000 fewer than in the previous few days, but far higher than in the past two years. Shanghai, however, avoided a total lockdown. Officials said it was imperative to keep the city’s port and financial hub open in order to preserve the national and global economy.
Shanghai’s mayor’s office did not want to hear about a total lockdown of the city, concerned that the decision would damage the economy. “If Shanghai, our city, came to a complete halt, many international cargo ships would end up in the East China Sea,” Wu Fan, a medical expert with the city’s pandemic task force, had said. “This would have an impact on the entire national economy and the global economy,” he continued.
Like all other countries, China is affected by a wave of infections related to the variant Omicron. The second-largest economy in the world had declared, on Saturday 19 March, to have its first two deaths of the coronavirus since January 26, 2021. Before that, China had to tighten locally its sanitary restrictions by reconfining about ten cities, including Shenzhen and its 17 million inhabitants. The cities of Dalian, Nanjing and Tianjin near Beijing were also affected.