Shanghai has achieved the milestone of three consecutive days with no new COVID-19 cases outside quarantined areas, with the city’s daily infection number continuing to fall.
“All 16 districts of Shanghai have already achieved zero-COVID at the community level,” Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission, told the city’s daily COVID-19 press briefing yesterday.
The number of local infections fell about 12 percent to 823 on Monday, all inside areas under the strictest controls, said Zhao. In relatively freer areas, the ones monitored to gauge progress in eradicating the outbreak, no new cases were found for a third day.
More than 19 million residents, 78 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 860,000, while about 3 million are in “controlled areas.”
Shanghai plans to resume outdoor activities in stages, with some shops reopening this week, but most restrictions on movement remain in place until Saturday, after which public transport and other services will gradually resume.
By June, the lockdown should be lifted, but residents will still be asked to get tested frequently.
More people have been allowed out of their homes this week, with some joggers and dog walkers spotted. One man was seen fishing in a creek.
Supermarkets, restaurants and hair salons in some districts reopened on Monday. Public transport and some parks in suburban districts have also been receiving visitors.
It was not clear how many shops have reopened this week but in one positive sign, delivery apps showed more options for people to order from yesterday.
However, some downtown subdistricts and towns remain under “upgraded management” to keep reducing daily infections and prevent a rebound in infections.
In Yangpu District, for instance, which reported a third of the city’s total new infections on Monday, all residents have been told to stay home for continuous PCR (polymerase chain reaction) screening.
The Pengpu Community in Jing’an District asked residents to remain at home until at least Friday.
In Quyang Subdistrict of Hongkou District, only residents of zero-COVID residential compounds are allowed to visit a nearby Carrefour supermarket with a permit from their neighborhood committee. Each household is allowed to have one member to go to the supermarket twice a week.
The health commission pointed out that local authorities can upgrade the management of “precautionary areas” if there are many “locked-down areas” nearby or if they face a risk of transmission from gatherings.
The city recorded one COVID-19 death on Monday. The 92-year-old woman had severe underlying conditions and had not been vaccinated.
Of the COVID-19 patients in local designated and makeshift hospitals, 259 have severe symptoms, and 64 are critical.
As the pandemic wanes, the first batch of 24 key construction projects have been allowed to resume, Shanghai’s housing and construction management commission announced.
They are mainly related to the science and technology industry, urban infrastructure or people’s livelihoods, according to Zhu Jianhao, deputy director of the commission.
The second phase of Metro Line 18 in suburban Baoshan District, for instance, has restarted construction, along with another 15 major projects, including the research and development building of the laboratory of the Zhangjiang High-Tech Park and the green data center of Tencent.
Zhu said that only construction projects in the “white list” are allowed to resume work because of the risk of a COVID-19 recurrence at construction sites. All construction sites must be under closed-loop management with strict health supervision of each worker.
In early March, Shanghai witnessed a new wave of infections caused by Omicron variants. By mid-April, the number of daily infections had leaped from single digits to more than 27,000. More than 600,000 infections have been reported so far.
To contain the fast spread, more than 30,000 medics nationwide were mobilized to aid Shanghai.
Meanwhile, the city has been working hard to overcome bottlenecks in logistics and help e-commerce platforms increase their transport capacity.
Local community workers and volunteers provided daily necessities for residents, and group-buying organizers also did their bit.
Timely and resolute measures have gradually yielded great results. The city has built the capacity to collect and test a maximum of 8.5 million tubes of nucleic acid samples every day.