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Shanghai eases COVID rules and allows 4 million more people out of their homes: NPR

Protective equipment workers register residents for COVID-19 testing in Jingan district of western Shanghai, China, on April 1, 2022. Shanghai let 4 million more people out of their homes on Wednesday when coronavirus rules closed China’s largest city , eased and some factories resumed operations.

Chen Si / AP


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Chen Si / AP

Protective equipment workers register residents for COVID-19 testing in Jingan district of western Shanghai, China, on April 1, 2022. Shanghai let 4 million more people out of their homes on Wednesday when coronavirus rules closed China’s largest city , eased and some factories resumed operations.

Chen Si / AP

BEIJING – Shanghai let 4 million more people out of their homes on Wednesday as antivirus checks that shut down China’s largest city eased, while the International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for Chinese economic growth and warned that the global flow of industrial goods could be disturbed.

A total of nearly 12 million people in the city with 25 million will be allowed to go outdoors after the first round of relief last week, health official Wu Ganyu said at a news conference. Wu said the virus was “under effective control” for the first time in some parts of the city.

In recent changes, more than 4 million people are included in areas where status shifted from closed to controlled, Wu said. He said some are not allowed to leave their neighborhoods and large gatherings are prohibited.

Meanwhile, the IMF reduced its forecast for Chinese growth this year to 4.4% from 4.8% due to the closure of Shanghai and other industrial centers. That’s almost half of last year’s growth of 8.1% and below the ruling Communist Party’s target of 5.5%.

China’s case numbers in its recent rise in infections are relatively low, but the ruling party enforces a “zero-COVID” strategy that has shut down major cities to isolate all cases.

On Wednesday, the government reported 19,927 new cases on mainland China, all but 2,761 of which had no symptoms. Shanghai accounted for 95% of the total, or 18,902 cases, of which 2,495 had symptoms.

The Shanghai City Health Agency reported that seven people who had COVID-19 died on Tuesday, but said the deaths were due to cancer, heart disease and other ailments. All but two were over 60.

Shanghai closed businesses and restricted most of the population to their homes from March 28 after an increase in infections. This led to complaints about lack of access to food and medicine supplies. People in Shanghai who test positive but have no symptoms have been ordered to quarantine centers set up in exhibition halls and other public buildings.

Official data this week showed that economic growth in the first three months of this year slowed compared to the last quarter of 2021.

The shutdowns in China “are likely to intensify supply disruptions elsewhere” and could increase the pressure for inflation to rise, the IMF said in a report.

The ruling party has promised tax refunds and other support to companies, but avoids large incentive spending. Economists say strategy will take longer to show results, and Beijing may have to spend more or lower interest rates.

Chinese leaders have vowed to try to reduce the human and financial costs of anti-disease control by switching to a “dynamic clearing” strategy that isolates neighborhoods and other smaller areas instead of entire cities. However, many areas appear to be enforcing stricter controls after Shanghai officials were criticized for not acting aggressively enough.

Also on Wednesday, the Ministry of Agriculture ordered local officials to avoid measures that could disrupt the spring planting of farmers feeding China’s 1.4 billion people. The order followed warnings that the production of wheat and other crops could be disrupted, which would increase demand for imports and push up already high global prices.

The government reported that 26,760 people who tested positive but had no symptoms were released Wednesday from observation. That included 25,411 in Shanghai, where some residents of quarantine centers have complained that they are unhygienic.

Other industrial and commercial centers, including Changchun, Jilin and Shenyang in the northeast, Tianjin port east of Beijing and Shenzhen and Guangzhou in the south, have closed shops, imposed travel restrictions or asked residents to stay home.

Global automakers and other manufacturers reduced or stopped production because suppliers could not deliver.

This week, Volkswagen AG announced that the factory in Changchun was resuming production, and the automaker was considering when its Shanghai plant would reopen. BMW AG said their factory in Shenyang has reopened.

While some cities eased controls, the government in Harbin, a city of 5.3 million in the northeast, suspended bus and metro connections on Wednesday and prevented the public from moving between districts.

Shanghai eases COVID rules and allows 4 million more people out of their homes: NPR

Source link Shanghai eases COVID rules and allows 4 million more people out of their homes: NPR

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