Shanghai warns some residents may have to live at their workplaces after it lifts citywide lockdown

·2-min read

As China seeks to lift the Covid-19 lockdown in Shanghai, city officials have warned that some people may have to stay at their workplaces even after they ease restrictions.

Officials in China’s financial capital said over the weekend that businesses should start to plan a “closed-loop management” system, where workers would live on site and test regularly for the virus, reported The New York Times.

But they did not provide a timeline of when that could happen.

The city has emerged as the epicenter of a new wave of Covid cases with over 320,000 infections since early March, when the surge started. The city started locking down areas east of the Huangpu River on 28 March and extended the lockdown citywide on 1 April.

Several people in the city are already living in their workplaces.

Dozens of employees at New York University’s Shanghai campus are sleeping in offices and dorms, while workers are sleeping on makeshift beds in the city’s factories, and traders have pitched tents and cots beside their desks at financial firms.

“This is a tough time for everybody, and it’s especially challenging for our essential workers who can’t go home at night,” Professor Jeffrey Lehman, NYU Shanghai’s vice chancellor said. “I feel deeply grateful to them for all that they are doing to take care of our students and our school.”

City officials have created a “white list” of 666 companies slated to reopen this week, reported the New York Post. This includes automakers Tesla and Volkswagen, as well as major medical firms.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Shanghai health officials announced that seven more deaths had been reported, taking the total number of deaths in the present outbreak to 10, reported Global Times.

Between 26 February and 18 April, the city has reported 27,613 local confirmed cases and has 21,717 hospitalised patients, authorities added on Tuesday.

Officials have set a target of 20 April to stop the spread of the virus outside of quarantined areas, which would allow the city to further ease its lockdown and start returning to normal life as public frustrations grow, reported Reuters.

The target will require officials to accelerate testing and the transfer of positive cases to quarantine centres, according to a local Communist Party official.

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