Little more than a week after Shanghai, China crawled out of one of the most severe and taxing covid lockdowns anywhere in the world, the city is once again on notice for COVID spread while millions are being told to hole up and prepare for mass testing.
Reuters reported Friday that city officials announced mandatory PCR testing for all residents in 14 of 16 districts to take place this weekend. The announced testing initiative was related to a cluster of community-transmitted cases tied to a popular beauty salon. The testing initiative was announced only 10 days after officials ended their harsh two-month lockdown June 1, and less than a month since city officials said they hit their “zero-covid’ milestone.
According to Bloomberg, one area in the city with a handful of cases caused a spread to 15 of the city’s districts. Shanghai reported an uptick of 11 total infections from zero earlier this week. Entire compounds are reportedly locked down, and even after they get a negative test, those individuals might still be told to stay put if more infections are reported in their buildings.
The news set off alarms for residents, and people reportedly rushed to stores to stock up on groceries and supplies. More were concerned about another potential long lockdown. Five districts announced that nobody was allowed to leave their homes while testing was being conducted, according to Bloomberg.
The city of Shanghai suffered one of the most severe lockdowns anywhere in the world from March through May, with residents reporting forced testing and quarantining. The lockdowns also resulted in food and medicine shortages. Many residents found unique ways around China’s censors to voice their hardships. Even after the lockdown was originally lifted earlier this month, residents still required a negative test within the last three days to go to public places like shopping malls or to use public transit.
For the major tech companies like Sony or Tesla, the end to lockdowns were also supposed to be an end to their production woes. Tesla had essentially locked its employees into a “closed loop” system that had them both working and living at the electric car manufacturing plants, residing in temporary shelters near the factory. The factory had to shut down for around two weeks in May due to a lack of supplies.
The company announced those sequestered employees were going to finally be allowed to leave the factory bubble at the end of Friday. There’s no word yet whether this latest round of lockdowns will impact those people as well.