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China Locks Down 1.3 Million in Shanghai Over Covid-19 Fears

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China Locks Down 1.3 Million in Shanghai

The Communist Party of China (CCP) has ordered the lockdown on more than a million residents of Shanghai city over fears of a Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Shanghai, China’s largest city, is testing all 1.3 million residents of its downtown Yangpu area Friday and limiting them to their houses until results are known.

The proposal echoes summer measures that resulted to a two-month lockdown of the 25-million-person city, which wrecked its economy and caused food shortages and rare confrontations between citizens and police.

Authorities first believed the shutdown would last days but extended it.

Since a massive Communist Party meeting this week gave authoritarian leader Xi Jinping a third five-year term and filled top bodies with his loyalists, China has maintained its “zero-COVID” policy.

From Shanghai in the east to Tibet in the west, where anti-lockdown protests have occurred, strict restrictions have been applied.

Smuggled cellphone footage shows Tibetans and Han Chinese protesting a 74-day curfew in Lhasa. Wednesday’s video was shot. No violence.

Since 2008, brutal anti-government protests in Lhasa have been closely monitored.

Despite public outrage, the former chairman of Shanghai’s CCP Committee, the city’s top official who ordered the lockdown, was given the number 2 spot in the party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, demonstrating Xi’s preference for political loyalists over competent administrators.

Chen Jining, a former Tsinghua University president and environmental protection minister, replaced Zhejiang Governor Li Qiang as Xi’s virtual chief of staff.

Chen, 58, studied civil and environmental engineering at Brunel University London and Imperial College London, where he got a doctorate in 1993.

Even though most of the world has opened up, many Chinese wanted a loosening of anti-COVID-19 protocols.

China praises its method with keeping covid-19 case numbers and deaths at a fraction of those in other nations, despite the World Health Organization labelling it unsustainable.

China reported 1,337 new cases—most of them asymptomatic—and no deaths on Friday. Shanghai had 11 asymptomatic cases and Tibet had one symptomatic and five asymptomatic cases. China reports 258,660 cases and 5,226 deaths since late 2019’s Wuhan outbreak.

Shanghai aims to create a permanent quarantine centre on an island in the Huangpu River that divides the financial district, Caixin said.

Caixin claimed the 1.6 billion yuan ($221 million) Fuxing Island project will add 3,009 isolation rooms and 3,250 beds in six months.

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China has rejected Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and J&J vaccines despite their own being ineffective.

Before loosening limitations, China needs more booster shots. 90% of Chinese were fully immunized and 57% had booster shots by mid-October.

China has relied on domestically made vaccinations, notably two inactivated vaccines that prevent death and serious disease but not disease spread like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Entering offices and other public spaces in China requires a negative COVID-19 test, not immunization. Due to its “zero-COVID” policy, only a small percentage of its population has been infected and gained immunity.

Thus, the spread of COVID-19 if travel warnings and quarantine were lifted is unknown. Until then, 1.4 billion people will face a patchwork of rules.

Shigatse, Tibet’s second-largest city, will resume “regular living and manufacturing order” on Friday.

On Wednesday, Wuhan officials locked down 900,000 people for five days. Since Friday, metropolitan parts of Xining city in rural Qinghai province have been sealed down.

Universal Studios Beijing closed its hotels and attractions “to comply with pandemic prevention and control.”

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