Shanghai Preparing to Ease Covid Restrictions

People wearing masks in Shanghai

Shanghai is making preparations to ease Covid restrictions in place over the city’s 25 million population with authorities hopeful Covid transmissions will mostly be restricted to quarantine facilities.

Factories are scheduled to reopen under closed-loop systems, with Tesla staff having been told to sleep on site according to reports.

Shanghai continues to report tens of thousands of news Covid-19 cases per day, in the worst outbreak in China since the pandemic started. Most of the case are already in isolation, and Reuters reported on Monday that officials had set a target of reaching “zero-Covid at the community level” by Wednesday.

At present, all positive cases must be isolated or sent to hospital if treatment is required. As was the case in other Chinese cities recently, authorities plan to ease restrictions once there is no further transmission outside of isolation facilities.

Shanghai’s new target was relayed on Saturday to Communist party chiefs in the city and organizations such as schools. China continues to pursue a zero-Covid policy despite the spread of the highly infectious Omicron strain across the country.

“The Chinese population has a degree of immunity because of vaccination but not exposure to the virus, because they handled it so well,” said Prof Robert Booy, an expert in infectious diseases and vaccines at the University of Sydney.

“The problem China has now is the Wuhan virus had a reproduction number of two, where the new ones have 12 or more. So it will be almost impossible to control despite the extraordinary efforts of quarantining millions of people at a time and testing them. It would be a miracle if they could control the virus despite their extremely fastidious approaches.”