Shanghai official says handling of COVID outbreak below expectations as lockdown continues


SHANGHAI, April 9 (Reuters) – Shanghai’s deputy mayor has admitted shortcomings in the city’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, as a record 23,600 new cases were reported on Saturday, while the United States allowed the non-essential personnel and their families will leave their consulate. in the city.

Vice Mayor Zong Ming praised the public’s support and the work of frontline workers despite public criticism of the strict restrictions, but said better handling of the virus was needed.

“We feel the same way about the issues that everyone has raised and expressed,” Zong told a daily briefing. “A lot of our work hasn’t been enough, and there’s still a big gap from everyone’s expectations. We’ll do everything we can to improve.”

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Beijing stepped in after Shanghai’s initial effort to isolate the virus through phased lockdown failed, insisting the country stick to its zero-tolerance policy to prevent its medical system from being overwhelmed.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the southern megacity of Guangzhou, home to more than 18 million people, said it would start testing in its 11 districts, after cases were reported there on Friday.

In Shanghai, where 26 million people are in lockdown, residents continue to complain about food shortages due to a lack of couriers and uncertainty about when the lockdown measures will end.

The government said it would carry out more tests on Saturday and ease some restrictions on movement. Some residents of housing complexes with no recent cases said they had been notified by their neighborhood committees that they could leave their homes to walk around their complexes.

However, it did not mean a change of focus.

“Epidemic prevention and control are now at the most critical moment, and we cannot tolerate even the slightest slack,” Zong said.

FOOD FEVER

Gu Jun, director of the city’s commerce commission, acknowledged the problems in the distribution of food supplies, saying that distribution centers, supermarkets and pharmacies should continue to operate online as much as possible.

E-commerce company JD.com Inc (9618.HK) said on Saturday it had obtained a license to deliver products in Shanghai and hosted a live sales session joined by more than 3.5 million people.

The products offered sold out in a matter of seconds, and the hosts repeatedly begged for patience in response to commenters who complained that they were unable to purchase.

An official also referred to reports of patients recovering from COVID but not being allowed to return to their compounds by neighborhood committees, emphasizing that there was no evidence of any risk to those who had been discharged.

On Friday, the US State Department said in a travel advisory that it would allow non-emergency staff and their families to leave the Shanghai consulate due to rising cases and the impact of restrictions.

He advised US citizens to reconsider traveling to China “due to the arbitrary application of local laws and COVID-19 restrictions.”

Of the new cases reported in Shanghai on Saturday, 1,015 were recorded as symptomatic while 22,609 were asymptomatic.

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Reporting by David Kirton and Zoey Zhang; edited by Richard Pullin

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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