Shanghai COVID cases continue to rise, food supply issues linger

SHANGHAI, April 10 (Reuters) – Shanghai reported nearly 25,000 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections on Sunday, as residents of China’s most populous city complained about food and basic supplies and feared that more cities will soon find themselves in the same situation.

Streets in the locked-down financial center of 26 million people have remained on the edge of the city’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy, allowing only healthcare workers, volunteers, delivery staff or those with clearance special to go out.

Shanghai’s case count is low compared to some cities around the world, but it’s battling China’s worst COVID outbreak since the virus emerged in the central city of Wuhan in 2019. Among the local cases Shanghai reported on Sunday , 1,006 were symptomatic while 23,937 were classified as asymptomatic. , which China counts separately.

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The city has become a test bed for China’s elimination strategy, which aims to centrally test, trace and quarantine all COVID-positive people to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Sidewalks have severely compressed supplies of food and other essentials. Many supermarkets have been closed and thousands of couriers locked up. Access to medical care is also of concern.

Online videos show residents grappling with security personnel and hazmat-friendly medical staff at some compounds in recent days, with occupants shouting that they need food.

Executives from e-commerce giants JD.com (9618.HK) and food delivery service Ele.me attended the city’s daily briefing, seeking to convince residents that bottlenecks would be eased.

JD.com Vice President Wang Wenbo said he understands the concerns over delivery speed and the company is focusing on basic food items and childcare items. Ele.me senior vice president Xiao Shuixian said his company hired 2,800 more delivery people in the past week.

Citizens in several cities have expressed concern in social media groups that their towns may also be in lockdown, with shared screenshots of maps showing various closed highways across the country.

Many closures may be due to local governments implementing their own measures.

On Saturday, the Department of Transport said it had met with other government departments to work on standardizing pandemic checkpoints on highways as local restrictions were causing congestion for essential supplies, the ministry said. .

Video circulating on social media appears to show trucks leaving Shanghai being scanned with hand-held detectors to ensure no one is trying to leave the city hidden inside. Reuters was unable to confirm the authenticity of the video.

The Beijing municipal government placed a high-risk area under lockdown on Saturday after eight COVID cases were confirmed in the past two weeks, Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told reporters. .

On Saturday, the southern megacity of Guangzhou, home to more than 18 million people, announced it would start testing in its 11 districts after cases were reported on Friday.

On Sunday, Ningbo, a key port city near Shanghai, said it was closing all indoor dining in restaurants and hotels, and people who had been in confined spaces would be tested daily for three days. , without giving further details.

Guides in Shanghai have been posting items on social media recommended for residents of other cities to stock up on in the event of a lockdown, such as basic cooking supplies, seasonings and basic dried foods like rice and beans. pasta.

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Reporting by David Kirton in Shanghai; Editing by William Mallard and Kenneth Maxwell

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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