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Millions Are to Be Locked Down In Shanghai As China Introduces More Mass Testing To Combat Rising Covid Cases In The City

Shanghai will launch a phased lockdown to curb an Omicron-fuelled Covid-19 outbreak that has hit China with its highest caseloads since the early days of the pandemic, the city government said.

China's biggest city will lock down its eastern half from Monday until Friday, officials said, followed by a similar lockdown of its western side beginning on 1st April.

The metropolis of 25 million people has in recent days become the leading hotspot in a nationwide outbreak that began to gain pace in early March.

A record 3,450 symptomatic cases were reported in Shanghai on Sunday, accounting for nearly 70% of the nationwide total, along with 50 symptomatic cases, the city government said on Monday.

China's National Health Commission on Monday reported 5,134 new asymptomatic cases for the previous day, and 1,219 local confirmed infections

Although the case numbers remain insignificant in a global context, they are China's highest since the first weeks of the pandemic, which first emerged in the city of Wuhan in late 2019.

Millions of residents in affected areas across the country have been subjected to citywide lockdowns.

Shanghai, however, had thus far avoided a full lockdown, with officials saying it was imperative to keep the eastern Chinese port and financial hub running, for the good of both the national and global economies.

The city government earlier said in a public notice that the two-part lockdown was being implemented "to curb the spread of the epidemic, ensure the safety and health of the people" and root out cases of infection "as soon as possible".

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