As speed slows, Shanghai says Covid measures will remain in place

As speed slows, Shanghai says Covid measures will remain in place

The financial hub’s fight against the outbreak “remains in a crucial stage,” as the situation is still “severe and complex,” Zhao Dandan, deputy head of the local health commission, told a briefing Saturday, without addressing the significance of the new numbers.

Officials said that Shanghai’s measures to stem community spread of Covid will remain in place, even as inflections drop and the city reported no new cases outside quarantined areas on Friday for the first time since the recent outbreak started.

The city of 25 million reported 10,181 new infections April 29, down from 15,032 the previous day. All the new cases were either found in lockdown or were reclassified from previously known asymptomatic cases, according to a statement Saturday.

While Shanghai makes progress toward halting the community spread of Covid-19, a crucial milestone in its disruptive containment effort to bring the city’s worst outbreak under control, Beijing is tightening measures as the capital seeks to prevent its flareup from growing.

From May 5, people in Beijing will be required to show negative Covid test results within the last seven days to enter public venues or to use the transit system, the official Beijing Daily reported . The city’s cinemas will all be shut down during the five-day Labor Day holiday that started Saturday, the newspaper said late Friday.

Chinese officials are now more focused on curtailing the spread of the virus within communities rather than seeking to reduce the caseload to absolute zero as the highly infectious omicron variant poses unprecedented challenges to the country’s Covid Zero strategy. Once infections are found only among those already corralled into quarantine, and not people who are free to move around in the community, getting cases back to zero is probably only a matter of time.

The nationwide tally of new confirmed Covid cases also eased, falling to 1,424 Friday, the lowest in days and down from 5,659 the previous day, according to the health ministry.

Shanghai citizens shouldn’t relax efforts to stem the community spread of the virus, and elderly residents should get vaccinated as soon as possible, Zhao said. The city reported 47 deaths of infected patients on Friday. They had an average age of 82.4, all died from underlying diseases and only three were vaccinated.

The city will keep pushing for more businesses to resume services, after companies in the first batch, including Tesla Inc., were already allowed to do so, an official told the briefing.

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