Shanghai Extends Lockdown of 26 Million as Military Deployed to Assist in Mass Testing

Shanghai has extended its stay-at-home order as reviews the results of a new round of COVID testing of the city’s 26 million residents conducted on April 4.

The financial hub began it’s two-staged lockdown on March 28, which was to allow health workers to complete at least two rounds of mass testing.

The curbs, which has severely disrupted daily life and business operations, was originally scheduled to be lifted on 5 a.m. local time on April 5.

But in a notice released on April 4, Shanghai authorities announced the extension of lockdown, ordering residents not to step out of their homes before they complete the review of a new round of test results. They added that the mass screening was almost completed by late evening.

Authorities did not indicate when the curbs would be lifed.

Shanghai had tested over 32 million people during the staggered lockdown, city officials said at Sunday’s press conference. It also ordered a new round of antigen testing.

On Monday, many residents woke up before dawn for white-suited healthcare workers to swab their throats as part of nucleic acid testing at their housing compounds, many queuing up in their pajamas, standing the required two meters apart.

Shanghai workers volunteers
Workers and volunteers look on in a compound where residents are tested for COVID-19, during the second stage of a pandemic lockdown in Jing’ an district in Shanghai, China, on April 4, 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’m scared that I could test positive,” a local resident who was among the queues to receive a PCR test told The Epoch Times on Monday.

Under the Chinese regime’s “zero-COVID” policy, people who test positive are sent to centralized quarantine, including the elderly and children. Reports have recently emerged that crying toddlers were separated from parents in quarantine facilities in Shanghai, sparking outrage over the strict measures.

Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan, who was sent to the densely populated city by the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, emphasized that Shanghai must stick to the regime’s zero-COVID policy “without any hesitation or wavering,” state media reported on April 2.

Sun urged to test more and quarantine all infected and their close contacts, calling “resolute and swift moves” to stamp out the current outbreak driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

To assist the mandatory screening on Monday, the regime’s military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), deployed 2,000 medical personnel to the financial hub, PLA Daily said. Over 30,000 medical workers from nearby provinces have also been dispatched, state media reported.

Shanghai reported a record of 8,581 asymptomatic cases and 425 symptomatic cases on Monday. Residents and experts, however, suggest the outbreak may be more severe than what’s officially disclosed, due to the regime’s practice of covering up information that it deems harmful to its image.

Many residents have also lamented the growing financial and emotional costs to the strict measures, saying that Beijing’s heavy-handed COVID policy is worse than the threat posed by the virus itself.

“We’re all very tired,” said Gao Ling (alias), who lives in the eastern part of Shanghai. “People just want to survive, to be able to feed themselves, but now we don’t have food.”

“We haven’t had any vegetables for three days. Do you want us not to worry? It’s impossible,” Gao told The Epoch Times on Monday.

Another resident, Geng Yun (alias), told The Epoch Times that she was under pressure to pay the monthly mortgage. As her residential compound has been locked down since April 1, she has been unable to work during this period.

Shanghai health workers
Health workers wearing protective gear prepare equipment in preparation for testing people for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a compound in Shanghai on March 23, 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

The city has been dysfunctional since last week. Sealed inside their homes, residents took to social media to plead for help as they were unable to obtain food. Further, the requirement of quarantining all potential patients has led to the city’s hospitals and other facilities being overloaded. Non-COVID patients have also struggled to obtain medical care.

Meanwhile, business activity has been severely disrupted, with delays in trucking and deliveries. Logistic providers have warned of disruption to global supply chains due to the lockdown in the city that hosts the world’s busiest port.

Tesla’s factories in Shanghai, which had suspended production since March 28, was unable to restart production on Monday as planned, Reuters reported, citing an internal notice and unnamed sources.

Economists have warned that the full lockdown of the financial hub for two weeks could cost China’s economy $29.8 billion.

Hong Ning, Gu Qing’er, and Reuters contributed to the report.

From The Epoch Times