Taxi services

Shanghai tracks latest COVID-19 cases, Beijing limits taxi services

Shanghai authorities combed the city on Thursday for its latest COVID-19 cases in hopes of paving the way for an exit from a painful six-week lockdown, while Beijing has limited taxi services to contain its small epidemic.

China’s mall of 25 million people has tightened its lockdown in recent days in a last-ditch effort to eradicate the virus by the end of the month, after making significant progress, data this week showed.

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Shanghai’s mass testing detected only two new cases outside the areas with the strictest restrictions on May 11, officials said.
Thursday, but it was two more than nothing the day before.

Significantly, the cases were found in two of the city’s 16 districts, Xuhui and Fengxian, authorities said this week.
were among eight who had achieved “zero COVID” status, having had no community cases for three consecutive days.

The latest cases show the difficulty in completing the highly transmissible variant of Omicron despite ruthlessly enforcing some of China’s toughest restrictions since the virus emerged in the city of Wuhan in late 2019.

The new infections are also raising concerns about how long a return to normal life will last under China’s intransigent rule.
“zero COVID” policy after the lockout is lifted for good.

Yu Linwei, vice governor of Xuhui, told a press conference that his county would not let up on anti-epidemic efforts, assuring
everyone is tested and that new cases and their close contacts are isolated in quarantine as quickly as possible.

“We dare not slack off,” he said.

Some of the residents of the district, who in recent days had been allowed to leave their compound for walks and shopping, say they have received notices telling them they cannot leave their homes and prepare for further testing.

Overall, Shanghai reported 1,305 new local asymptomatic coronavirus cases for May 11, up from 1,259 a day earlier and
144 symptomatic cases, against 228. But these were in areas already subject to the strictest controls.

The cases found in the relatively freer communities are those most closely watched for clues as to where Shanghai is.
the epidemic is heading. Other Chinese cities under similar lockdowns have begun easing restrictions after a period of zero cases in
such areas.

Overall outlier

The number of cases in China is a tiny fraction of what the world’s major cities have come to ignore, as most countries lift restrictions to “live with the virus” even as infections continue to spread.

China is bucking the global trend and doubling down on its “zero COVID” policy, putting hundreds of millions of people in dozens of cities under movement restrictions, causing significant economic damage and disruption of trade and international sourcing

But China says it is saving lives.

It points to one million COVID deaths in the United States, and many more millions elsewhere, while its official toll since the start of the pandemic is just over 5,000.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week that China’s policy was “not sustainable”, prompting an angry rebuke from Beijing and censure of his “irresponsible” comments.

The capital, Beijing, reported 46 new COVID cases for May 11, up from 37 previously.

Late Wednesday, Beijing announced the suspension of taxis and transportation services in parts of Chaoyang District, Beijing’s largest and the epicenter of its outbreak, and two other districts.

Authorities there have banned dine-in services at restaurants, closed some shopping malls, entertainment and tourist venues, suspended sections of its bus and subway systems and imposed closures on some residential buildings.

Having tightened restrictions earlier in its outbreak, Beijing is doing much better than Shanghai at this point in its latest outbreak.

“Dystopian Nightmare”

At an apartment building in Shanghai’s central Jing’an district, residents have again been told they cannot leave their apartments after being allowed out last week to walk around the compound.

“As restrictive as it is, those 10 minutes of freedom, being able to breathe fresh air outside my apartment building and walk my dog, kept me sane,” said Stephanie Sam, 27. years, resident of the building, on the social media site WeChat.

The tightening of the curbs “took away the last hope I had about the near end of this dystopian nightmare,” she said.

The district has not reported any community cases and, like other areas of the city, has entered what authorities call “silent management mode.”

This usually means signs or fencing around buildings, banned deliveries and residents being confined to their homes again.

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