SHANGHAI (BLOOMBERG) – Shanghai will conduct mass testing to detect Covid-19 cases in residential compounds every weekend through the end of July as authorities remain wary of new infection chains that can spawn wider outbreaks.
A temporary lockdown will also be imposed on those residential complexes where a Covid-19 case was detected in the week leading up to the weekend testing, Mr Zhao Dandan, an official with the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission said at a briefing on Wednesday (June 15).
The lockdown would be lifted once everyone in the compound has been tested, he said.
Shanghai residents need to take nucleic acid tests at least once a week until the end of July. Employees at supermarkets, barbershops, drugstores, shopping malls and restaurants need to conduct such tests daily.
Delivery workers need to do both nucleic acid and antigen tests on a daily basis.
Staff at banks, gas companies and industrial entities should do an antigen test everyday.
The latest policy measure in China’s financial hub, which just emerged from a two-month lockdown this month, shows the government’s increasing reliance on frequent mass testing to stick to its Covid Zero stance in the face of the hyper-infectious Omicron variant.
The country is setting up tens of thousands of lab testing booths across the largest cities in the belief that frequent swabbing can help uncover infection chains early and avert economically crushing lockdowns.
The weekend mass-testing also underscores authorities’ unease with Covid-19’s intractable community spread despite repeated testing and harsh restrictions.
Shanghai reported two new cases outside of quarantine facilities on Wednesday and sent scores of close contacts to quarantine to prevent further spread.
Beijing also saw another virus cluster emerging from a bar just days after the virus’s community spread was believed to have been curbed.
The bar cluster has led to more than 200 cases and triggered fresh rounds of mass testing in parts of the city.