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China began a COVID-19 lockdown Monday to temper a growing outbreak in Shanghai — its financial capital and most populous city — marking the largest coronavirus lockdown China has seen since early 2020.
The two-phase process started in Shanghai’s Pudong financial district neighboring areas, which will be closed Monday through Friday while the local government conducts mass testing. The downtown area west of the Huangpu River will begin the second phase with its own five-day lockdown starting Friday.
Shanghai’s 26 million residents will be required to stay at home, with deliveries left at checkpoints. Public transportation will stop running, and all businesses – unless deemed essential – will shutter.
China has employed an aggressive “zero-COVID” strategy, which involves doubling down with tools like contact tracing, mass testing and lockdowns to get COVID-19 numbers down to zero. This differs significantly from the “living with COVID-19” strategy used by many other nations, which assumes the virus will remain active, just at lower levels.
As of the beginning of this week, that method had been effective – the country had reported fewer than 12,000 deaths from the virus.
China’s last major lockdown occurred in Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in late 2019. Its 11 million residents were quarantined in their homes for 76 days.
The Associated Press, Shanghai starts China’s biggest COVID-19 lockdown in 2 years
BBC: Shanghai Covid: China announces largest city-wide lockdown
Science.org China quietly plans a pivot from ‘zero COVID’
John’s Hopkins: COVID-19 Dashboard