No new, more transmittable Omicron sub-variants have been found in the city, the Shanghai Health Commission has said.

The World Health Organization has drawn attention to new sub-variants of Omicron beyond the BA.2 mutation, such as the BA.4 and BA.5, and expressed concern over the possibility of a new worldwide flare-up.

The dominant sub-variants of the city’s coronavirus resurgence remain the Omicron BA.2 and BA.2.2, as Shanghai continues its gene sequencing of locally transmitted infections, stated Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the commission.

He emphasized sticking to scientific epidemiological survey and control measures and avoiding “simplified sweeping approaches.”

The city will continue its three-area designation and testing to screen out infections and put them under quarantine in a timely manner, Zhao noted yesterday.

Residents in locked-down areas will receive daily polymerase chain reaction tests, while those in controlled areas will take three PCR tests and four antigen self-tests every week.

People in precautionary areas will receive one PCR plus six antigen tests per week. They must show a negative PCR report made within two days to enter any public area.

Delivery staff, volunteers and personnel maintaining local urban operation will receive a PCR and two antigen tests at an interval of eight hours every day, Zhao said.

Meanwhile, screening will be launched at key sites such as companies, construction sites, street shops, apartment buildings, office buildings, hotels and among migrant groups. Those who do not take PCR tests will find their health code has become yellow, banning them from entering any public area.

According to the results of the PCR plus antigen screening, a total of almost 17.02 million local residents, or some 68 percent of Shanghai’s total population, are now in precautionary areas — communities, villages and businesses without a positive case in the last two weeks.

The number of residents in locked-down areas has rebounded a bit to 2.45 million, while 3.82 million people are in controlled areas, Zhao revealed.

Shanghai’s daily infection numbers fell for a ninth day, to a total of 3,975 on Saturday. The city reported eight more COVID-19 deaths, with the casualties having an average age of 80.6 years. All had severe underlying conditions, and only one of them had been vaccinated.

Of COVID-19 patients in local designated and makeshift hospitals, 412 have severe symptoms and 84 are in critical condition.

A total of 10,780 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals on Saturday after making a full recovery.

Meanwhile, 101 members of the disinfection volunteers teams organized by the Red Cross Society of China have disinfected more than 19.21 million square meters of buildings and public space, including 4,472 buildings where positive cases lived.

“We need to take the barrels of disinfectant and climb up and down every day,” said Shan Minghua, deputy leader of the Shanghai disinfection team of the Red Cross.

“It is equivalent to climbing to the top of the 632-meter-tall Shanghai Tower 29 times.”

Gaokao postponed

On Saturday, the city put off its college entrance exam, known as gaokao, by a month to early July.

More than 50,000 local students will take part in the annual exam, which is seen as a milestone in their life trajectory, between July 7 and 9. It is normally held between June 7 and 9.

“The postponement aims to spare some time for the examinees to study at school, rather than attend the exams from home directly,” Vice Mayor Chen Qun said.

He stated that local headmasters and teachers have agreed a period of studies at school can help the examinees consolidate their studies, calm down and become accustomed to the exam environment.

The city will offer more help to examinees who were infected with COVID-19 or underwent central quarantines, along with those whose parents are taking part in the anti-COVID-19 fight, or who have poor study conditions, he said.

Emergency exam sites will be set up to meet the requirements of COVID-19 prevention and control. Emergency responses to bad weather which is more likely due to the postponement will be put in place.

Central quarantine exam sites will be set up for students who are still under quarantine or with abnormal nucleic acid results.

The timetable for the reopening of local schools will be publicized later after “cautious arrangement” according to the city’s COVID-19 situation.

Details of the adjustments of enrollments of local kindergartens and schools will be released later this month. Additional time will be spared for parents and students to make applications, Chen added.

Some 1.56 million students of local kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools have shifted to online classes at home since March 12.

Chen also affirmed that the city will release some measures to support job hunting by 227,000 local graduates, the largest number in the last five years, who are under great pressure due to the pandemic resurgence.

Shanghai’s city- and district-level state-owned enterprises will open at least half of their posts to recruit local university graduates. The districts as well as subdistricts and towns will also recruit more civil servants from local new graduates.

Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Saturday to support “as many employers as possible,” especially among small and midsize firms, to keep people in their jobs.

China’s jobless rate stood at 5.8 percent in March, while that in 31 major cities hit a record 6 percent.

Elsewhere, the Asian Games, scheduled to take place in Hangzhou, some 180 kilometers southwest of Shanghai, from September 10 to 25, have also been postponed until 2023 “after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the Games,” the Olympic Council of Asia said at the weekend.

The name and the emblem of the 19th Asian Games will remain unchanged. OCA acting President Randhir Singh said a task force has been set up to decide new dates for the Games.

Organizers had said in early April that all 56 competition venues for the Games had been completed as the capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province prepared to host more than 11,000 athletes from 44 nations and regions.

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