Friday, June 24, 2022

China sends military to help Shanghai COVID-19 outbreak

BEIJING — China has sent more than 10,000 healthcare workers from across the country, including 2,000 from the military, as part of its zero-COVID strategy to stamp out the fast-spreading outbreak in its largest city. struggling to.

Shanghai was testing its 25 million residents on a large scale on Monday as what was announced as a two-phase lockdown entered its second week. Most of eastern Shanghai, which was to reopen last Friday, remained closed along with the western half of the city.

While many factories and financial companies have been allowed to continue operating when their workers are isolated, there was growing concern about the potential economic impact of the extended lockdown in China’s financial capital, a major shipping and manufacturing hub.

The highly contagious Omicron BA.2 form of the virus is testing China’s ability to maintain a zero-Covid approach, which aims to stop the spread of the outbreak by isolating all people who test positive, regardless of symptoms Or not. Shanghai has turned an exhibition hall and other facilities into massive isolation centers where people with mild or no symptoms are kept in a sea of ​​beds separated by temporary partitions.

China on Monday reported more than 13,000 new cases across the country in the past 24 hours, of which about 12,000 were asymptomatic. About 9,000 cases were in Shanghai. The second major outbreak is in northeast China’s Jilin province, where new cases top 3,500.

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The Shanghai lockdown has sparked many complaints from a lack of food to limited staff and facilities at hastily built isolation sites. Trade news publication Caixin said some people who tested positive have been at home for extended periods due to a lack of isolation beds or transportation.

When asked about concerns of parents separated from their children, Shanghai Health Commission official Wu Qianyu said on Monday that if the child tests positive and the parent tests negative, according to an online news outlet paper , then they should be kept separate.

If both test positive, the parents are allowed to stay with the child at an isolation site for the children and receive any treatment there, Wu told a news conference on Monday.

About 15,000 medical workers from neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces left their hospitals for Shanghai by bus early Monday, the China Daily newspaper said. A Chinese military newspaper said more than 2,000 personnel from the army, navy and a joint logistics support force arrived on Sunday.

State-owned China Daily said at least four other provinces had also sent doctors, nurses and other medical workers to Shanghai.

People lined up for testing in a part of western Shanghai wearing blue protective clothing with signs saying “keep one meter apart” and “don’t crowd”. Testing was being done in batches, 10 people at a time. If the sample comes back positive, all 10 are tested individually.

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While most shops and other businesses in Shanghai remain closed, major manufacturers including automakers General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG say their factories are still operating. VW has cut production due to a disruption in parts supply.

Businesses that are working are implementing “closed loop” strategies that isolate employees. According to the Daily Economic News newspaper, thousands of stock traders and others in the financial industry are sleeping in their offices.

According to a survey conducted last week by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and the American Chamber of Commerce in China, three out of five foreign companies with operations in Shanghai say they have cut their sales forecast for this year. Of the 120 companies that responded to the survey, a third said they had delayed investments.

Shanghai has set up temporary vegetable warehouses to boost supplies, and an online grocery delivery service has tried to double the staff at one of its warehouses, the official Xinhua News Agency said. City officials have apologized for the government’s handling of the lockdown.

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Associated Press researcher Chen Si in Shanghai and business writer Joe McDonald and researcher Yu Bing in Beijing contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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