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Shanghai residents face an unanticipated round of COVID testing

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - This weekend, only 10 days after the citywide lockdown was lifted, most Shanghai residents will be subjec...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - This weekend, only 10 days after the citywide lockdown was lifted, most Shanghai residents will be subjected to an unexpected round of COVID-19 testing, upsetting citizens and raising concerns about the impact on business.

Due to the identification of a few cases in the community, Shanghai officials said on Thursday that seven of the city's 16 districts will conduct PCR testing on all inhabitants over the weekend in an effort to avert a new outbreak.

Later in the day, six more districts launched similar initiatives. Some districts stated that homeowners will be prohibited from leaving their houses during testing.

"During sample, communities will use 'closed management,' allowing only admission and no exit; this restriction will be lifted once sampling is complete," stated a notification from Changning district.

"We hope that residents will engage in the PCR testing in an organised manner."

The statements were met with surprise and alarm, with some taking to the Twitter-like Weibo platform to inquire about the impact of the testing on weekend plans, such as relocating or visiting the doctor. Many voiced concern that they could be confined again.

The action is in addition to the city's existing stringent testing standards for its 25 million citizens, which were implemented on June 1 after the citywide lockdown was lifted.

To enter malls, offices, and even subways and buses, residents must present evidence that they have taken a COVID test within the previous 72 hours. Many have been dissatisfied with having to wait in hours-long lineups at more than 15,000 booths dispersed throughout the city.

Due to positive cases and their close contacts, certain areas of the city have stayed or reverted under lockdown shortly after June 1. Three of the most recent infections that led to a number of closures were traced to a popular beauty shop in the city centre that reopened on June 1 along with the rest of the city.

Even though China's infection rate is low compared to the rest of the world, President Xi Jinping has doubled down on a zero-COVID policy that authorities believe is necessary to protect the elderly and the country's medical system, even as other nations attempt to live with the coronavirus.

The two-month lockdown in Shanghai sparked widespread discontent, rage, and even rare demonstrations among its citizens, who had to deal with lost wages, the loss of freedom, the death of friends and family members, and even hunger.

In addition, it harmed the Chinese economy, disrupted supply lines, and hindered global trade.

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