Shanghai hits key milestone in COVID-19 battle as cases in China fall

The struggle to contain the highly transmissible Omicron variant in Shanghai has weighed on the economy, businesses and people, while restrictions have overwhelmed suppliers and tied supply chains together.

Shanghai city officials, who say they are anxious for factories to get back to work, also said that 80 percent of an original white list of 666 prioritized companies have resumed production, creating a second list of 1,188 companies.

Infections in the world’s most populous country are easing as it enters the April 30-May 4 work pause, which has traditionally been one of China’s busiest tourist seasons but is taking a big hit this year due to the virus.

While official figures show a drop in infections in Shanghai, some observers say authorities have been less strict in getting people to take tests in recent days.

In the capital, Beijing, authorities are scrambling to detect COVID-19 cases and isolate those who have been in contact with infected people.

Adding to frustrations in both cities, officials have not given a timeline or exit strategy for when things might return to some semblance of normalcy.

Nomura estimates 46 cities are in full or partial lockdown, affecting 343 million people. Societe Generale estimates that provinces with significant mobility restrictions account for 80 percent of China’s economic output.

China will ramp up policy support for the economy in response to COVID-19 and other headwinds, a top Communist Party decision-making body said on Friday, lifting stocks from recent two-year lows.

Shanghai recorded 47 new COVID-19 deaths on April 29, up from 52 the day before, the local government said on Saturday.

Some have questioned the death rate from COVID-19, as many residents said relatives or friends died back in March after contracting coronavirus.

Beijing reported 48 new symptomatic COVID-19 cases on April 29, compared with 47 cases the day before, the Xinhua news agency said on Saturday. The city also recorded six asymptomatic cases as of April 29, up from two the day before, it said.

Mainland China reported 10,793 new COVID-19 cases on April 29, up from 15,688 new cases the day before, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.

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