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China sends in the army as Shanghai COVID-19 crisis flares

China sends in the army as Shanghai COVID-19 crisis flares

Shanghai has become one of China’s major COVID-19 hotspots in recent weeks, with local authorities initially opting for partial lockdowns affecting various parts of the city separately.

However, as the initial containment measures did not appear to halt the spread of the coronavirus, Shanghai last Monday introduced a two-stage lockdown, which has since been expanded to effectively confine most residents to their homes.

On Sunday, Shanghai residents were told to self-test and report any positive results, with nucleic acid tests planned for Monday all across the city.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 are being placed in Shanghai quarantine centers. City authorities have converted hospitals, gyms, apartment blocks and even the Shanghai New International Expo Center into temporary quarantine facilities.

Yesterday, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) deployed more than 2,000 military medics to Shanghai to help the civilian doctors test the city’s entire population.

The military medics’ deployment comes after over 10,000 medical professionals from two adjacent provinces and Beijing who have recently also arrived in Shanghai.

The deployment is described as the country’s largest public-health response since the first-ever documented COVID-19 outbreak in the city of Wuhan in late 2019. Back then, more than 4,000 military medics were called in.

The city authorities in Shanghai have set the ambitious goal of conducting throat swabs on all 26 million residents of China’s largest city and major financial hub.

With 8,581 asymptomatic and 425 symptomatic COVID-19 cases reported on April 3, the outbreak would likely have been deemed a relatively insignificant one, had it happened elsewhere; however, the Chinese government’s ‘dynamic zero COVID’ strategy calls for tough measures even if the caseload is low.

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