BEIJING: China reported zero new Covid-19 infections in Shanghai for the first time since March on Saturday, as the country’s latest outbreak subsides after months of virus-spurred lockdowns and restrictions.
China is the last major economy still committed to a zero-Covid strategy, stamping out new cases with a combination of targeted lockdowns, mass testing and lengthy quarantines.
The economic hub of Shanghai was forced into a months-long lockdown during a Covid surge this spring driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, while the capital Beijing shuttered schools and offices for weeks over a separate outbreak.
Infections narrowed to a trickle in recent days, with Shanghai on Saturday reporting zero locally-transmitted cases for the first time since the start of the outbreak in early March.
“There were no new domestic Covid-19 confirmed cases and no new domestic asymptomatic infections in Shanghai on June 24, 2022,” the city said in a statement.
The lockdown on Shanghai’s 25 million residents was virtually lifted in early June, but the metropolis has struggled to return to normal as individual neighborhoods have reimposed restrictions in response to new infections.
Millions of people in the city were temporarily locked down again two weeks ago after the government ordered a new mass testing campaign.
In Beijing, restrictions first imposed in May were eased as cases declined, but tightened again this month after a nightlife-linked infection cluster emerged.
After days of mass testing and localised lockdowns, the “Heaven Supermarket infection chain” — named for the popular bar visited by patients — has been effectively blocked, Beijing authorities said last week.
The city’s education bureau said Saturday that all elementary and middle school students could return to their classrooms for in-person schooling on Monday, after the bar cluster delayed school reopenings.