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China's Largest City Put on Lockdown Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Sputnik News

Alexandra Kashirina

Shanghai, with a population of 25 million, has been battling a new coronavirus outbreak for almost a month. Over the past 24 hours, China has reported more than 1,200 COVID-19 cases, its highest daily number since the start of the pandemic.

The Chinese metropolis of Shanghai has introduced a strict two-part lockdown amid a COVID-19 outbreak, with authorities rolling out an experimental COVID testing regime as part of the Chinese "zero-COVID" policy, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The Pudong financial district side of the Huangpu River, which divides the city, will be closed from March 28 to April 1, and the population will undergo mandatory testing. The downtown area west of the river is expected to close and undergo mass testing from April 1 to 5.

It's the first time since the very start of the pandemic that the Chinese government has introduced such strict measures in the city of 25 million people.

Mass transit, including taxi services, will be suspended in all areas during the lockdown, city officials said on their official WeChat account, adding that vehicles without a special permit will not be allowed on the roads.

Shanghai authorities said in a statement that all firms and factories will suspend production and work remotely during the lockdown where possible, except those involved in public services and food supply. Responding to concerns regarding food supply, officials have assured that all necessary products can be ordered online.

The new measures being enforced in Shanghai aim to "curb the virus spread, protect people's life and health, and achieve the dynamic zero-COVID target as soon as possible," the city's COVID-19 prevention and control office stated in an announcement Sunday evening.

On Sunday, all but 50 COVID-19 cases reported in the city were asymptomatic. Nevertheless, as with other cities in China, Shanghai is sending all those who test positive to hospitals or quarantine centers without allowing home quarantine, regardless of the severity of symptoms, as the rising number of cases in the city has placed an additional strain on the city's healthcare system.

Authorities have already converted six hospitals, two indoor stadiums and one exhibition center into quarantine centers.

© Sputnik

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