Shanghai steps up efforts to bring Covid-19 to zero

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Shanghai steps up efforts to bring Covid-19 to zero

SHANGHAI — Shanghai authorities have pleaded for public cooperation with a new push to test most of the population for Covid- 19 as the city steps up its efforts to bring community transmission down to zero after nearly three weeks of lock-down.

The plea came after some people refused to join PCR testing lines because of weariness or fear it puts them at greater risk of infection.

The residents shared stories on social media about busloads of people being taken into quarantine from their homes and sent into quarantine, including babies and the elderly.

The authorities in Beijing are under pressure to speed up transfers of positive cases and their close contacts to quarantine centers, leading to angst in the community about draconian measures designed to stop the spread of the disease rather than just slow it down.

By conducting multiple rounds of PCR testing, we'll be able to detect positive cases as early as possible, as this will help us reach zero-Covid at community level faster, said Hu Xiaobo, city health official.

Sources tell Reuters that Shanghai is aiming to stop the spread of Covid outside quarantined areas by Wednesday. The goal was a turning point when it was achieved by other locked-down Chinese cities, allowing them to relax curbs.

The number of new local transmissions detected on Monday fell to 19,442 from 21,395 the previous day. Shanghai had 550 cases outside the quarantine zones, down from 561 the day before and the fourth consecutive decline.