China begins most extensive lockdown in years to control Shanghai outbreak
Shanghai on Monday launched the most extensive COVID-19 lockdown that China has seen in two years as the city seeks to contain a surge in new coronavirus cases.
Authorities in the Chinese financial hub announced the decision on Sunday, saying a 465-square-mile area on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River would be locked down for four days for mass testing. The area set to be locked down is home to about 5.7 million people, according to the South China Morning Post.
Five other districts — Jinshan, Fengxian, Chongming, Puxi and part of Minhang — are also set to go under lockdown at staggered periods. As the Post noted, this decision came after repeated assurances from city authorities that another lockdown would not be issued.
During the lockdown, all public transportation and private vehicles will be barred from traveling between the Pudong New Area and other regions of the city.
Since the beginning of March, Shanghai has seen a new outbreak caused by the omicron variant. As of Sunday, there were about 11,500 reported cases, the Post reported, though most were asymptomatic.
As The Associated Press reported, residents in the eastern bank of the Huangpu River were confined to their homes as health care workers arrived to administer COVID-19 tests. Residents on the other side of the river began to stockpile goods and overwhelmed supermarkets as they prepared for their own lockdown.
The lockdown is expected to impact major trading and manufacturing facilities, such as Tesla’s gigafactory, the Pudong International Airport and production centers for China’s largest chip maker, SMIC.