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Covid: China to close Shanghai in two stages in largest city-wide lockdown

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hina will lock down Shanghai over a nine-day period to carry out Covid testing after it reported a new daily record for asymptomatic infections.

The move marks China’s biggest city-wide shutdown since the Covid pandemic began two years ago.

Authorities said they would divide Shanghai into two for the shutdown, with some areas locked down between March 28 and April 1 and other areas locked down between April 1 and 5.

Public transport will be suspended during the lockdown, while firms and factories will either cease work or switch to remote working, said the city government.

Those offering public services or supplying food will be exempt.

“The public is asked to support, understand and cooperate with the city’s epidemic prevention and control work, and participate in nucleic acid testing in an orderly manner,” the government said in a statement.

Shanghai, China’s most populous city, recorded 2,631 new asymptomatic cases on Saturday, which accounted for nearly 60% of China’s total new asymptomatic cases that day.

While low by global standards, the Chinese government is taking a ‘zero Covid’ strategy towards the city of 26 million people.

Authorities in the city had previously resisted a broad lockdown of the city to avoid destabilising its economy.

It comes amid rising frustrations amid some in China at the government’s strategy, with some saying the cost of taking a ‘zero Covid’ approach has become too high.

Earlier this month, footage on social media showed a crowd of people in the northeastern city of Shenyang banged against the windows of a clothing market as they shouted in frustration at yet another round of Covid tests.

As of March 26, mainland China had confirmed 143,240 cases of Covid, and a death toll at 4,638.

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