A quick response to any new COVID-19 case outside quarantined areas will be crucial in preventing a rebound in infections in the community as Shanghai has cut off community transmission of the coronavirus, according to the city’s health authorities.

“The possibility of finding positive infections among risk groups still exists, and the pressure of … preventing a rebound remains huge,” Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission, told the city’s daily COVID-19 press briefing yesterday.

Epidemiological investigators will arrive within two hours of any new positive cases being detected at the community level, Zhao said. The investigators will finish collecting core epidemiological information within four hours and figure out the basic transmission situation within a day.

Fast and accurate epidemiological investigation and strict management are critical to curb the spread of the virus and bring the city back on track sooner, he noted.

At signs of a rebound, epidemiological investigators at city, district and community levels will conduct on-site investigations and define all close and secondary contacts with the help of Big Data analysis.

All new positive cases will be transferred immediately, along with close contacts, to prevent transmission, followed by screening and control measures in the related areas.

Environmental testing and gene sequencing will also be conducted to trace the origin of the infection, Zhao said.

Overall, Shanghai reported 855 new cases for Tuesday, none outside a quarantined area, meaning a fourth straight day without any new infection in the community.

More than 19.8 million residents, about 80 percent of the city’s population, are in “precautionary areas” — communities, villages, companies and sites without a positive case in the past two weeks.

The number of residents in “locked-down areas” is 790,000, while less than 3 million are in “controlled areas.”

The city government is gradually easing restrictions. More supermarkets, restaurants and hair salons have been allowed to open this week across the city. Public transport and some parks in outlying districts have also been receiving visitors.

Five bus lines were the first to resume operations in Jinshan yesterday, when residents were allowed to drive their private cars on the roads in the suburban district’s Zhujing Town.

Residents at housing compounds across Shanghai have been given passes that allow one person from each household to go out for a few hours at a time.

Some can go out only twice a week and only within a few streets of their home. But to get into a supermarket, they also need a pass from the shop.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Customs has adjusted the frequency of random checks on qualified imports to help guarantee daily supplies and resumption of work, said deputy customs director Liu Bo.

They include daily necessities, such as seafood, fruits, meats, dairy products and baby formulas, as well as materials for key industries such as imported photoresist for local integrated circuit companies, Liu revealed.

As part of the city’s plan to reopen broadly and allow normal life to resume after the lockdown, authorities have granted approval to 864 of Shanghai’s financial institutions to resume work.

The China Foreign Exchange Trade System, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the Shanghai Futures Exchange and the China Financial Futures Exchange were among the 864 financial institutions put on a “white list” published by the Shanghai Financial Regulatory Bureau, Shanghai Securities News reported yesterday.

The Bank of Communications and the Shanghai branches of other state-owned lenders, including the Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China and China Construction Bank, also appeared on the list.

Financial institutions which conduct business or system operations nationwide were given priority, the newspaper said, while those who were currently operating under a so-called “closed-loop” management or provided key financial support for companies to resume work were also considered first.

Shanghai authorities plan to publish more “white lists” on a weekly basis, allowing more financial firms to resume operations, according to the regulatory bureau notice.

The Bank of Communications said an outlet in Jinshan resumed business yesterday.

“From today and onward, some outlets of Bank of Communications’ Shanghai branch will gradually resume operations in accordance with Shanghai’s pandemic prevention and control situations,” the lender said in a news release.

More than 20,000 bankers, traders and other workers have slept over in their office towers in the Lujiazui financial zone in the Pudong New Area since late March to keep China’s financial center running during the lockdown.

Shanghai has already allowed key manufacturers from sectors including the auto industry, life sciences, chemicals and semiconductors to resume production since late April, after the latest wave of infection showed signs of stabilizing.

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