China covid: US warns of ‘arbitrary’ Covid measures in China
China covid: US warns of ‘arbitrary’ Covid measures in China

China covid: US warns of ‘arbitrary’ Covid measures in China

That United States on Saturday warned of “arbitrary” Covid-19 measures in China and said it would let some employees leave his Shanghai consulate in the midst of a wave of infections in the locked megacity.

Until March, China had kept matters low with zippers, mass tests and travel restrictions, but more than 100,000 cases have been reported in Shanghai since March in a test of the country’s strict zero-Covid policy.

The city’s approximately 25 million residents were locked down in phases last week, leading to complaints about food shortages and viral videos of disgruntled residents arguing with officials.

The U.S. State Department will now allow unnecessary staff to leave its consulate in Shanghai “due to an increase in Covid-19 cases and the impact of restrictions related to the response,” a U.S. embassy spokesman said in a statement.

The statement warned citizens to reconsider traveling to China, “due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and Covid-19-related restrictions,” adding that the embassy in Beijing had raised its concerns about the measures vis-à-vis the Chinese government.

Shanghai reported more than 23,000 new infections on Saturday – mostly asymptomatic, accounting for more than 90 percent of new domestic infections in the country.

City officials have prepared thousands of new beds in more than 100 makeshift hospitals, Shanghai Deputy Mayor Zong Ming told a news conference on Saturday.

The largest of these, a 50,000-bed hospital in the landmark National Exhibition and Convention Center, opened Saturday, according to Xinhua State News Agency.

As part of China’s zero-Covid policy, the authorities insist on isolating anyone who tests positive in hospital wards – which has left existing facilities overrun with patients, even though they show no serious symptoms.

Meanwhile, locals have begun to gnaw over restrictions, with many going on social media to complain about food shortages and expressing outrage over health workers’ recent killings of a pet corgi for fear of becoming infected.

An unpopular policy of separating infected children from their virus-free parents was softened this week after triggering public anger.

But Beijing is sticking to its zero-tolerance approach and is determined to stem the tide in Shanghai and send in doctors from across the country as reinforcements.

Officials in Shanghai said on Saturday that they planned to conduct a new round of PCR tests on the entire city’s population, after which it would start easing the rules in some neighborhoods – provided they met the strict requirement of no infections in the last 14 days.

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