Local authorities in Shanghai have made a big deal about their efforts to reopen factories and the city's all-important port, while easing restrictions on some of the population. But the reality is that while authorities have focused on bringing factories (like Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory) back to some semblance of full production, millions of locals are still suffering under the weight of some of the world's most stringent COVID measures (even after restrictions were eased on 4 million earlier this week).
Despite continued reductions in new case numbers, the local government on Thursday signaled that it's not planning on easing lockdown measures any time soon. The government announced a nine-point action plan that will add more quarantine hospital beds and transfer all COVID-positive patients as well as their close contacts to quarantine centers - where they will be treated with "traditional Chinese medicine", WSJ reports.
In a few instances, patients will be allowed to isolate at home, although only on a temporary basis, according to the plan, which also called for the maintenance of strict controls on movement, mass testing and contact tracing, according to WSJ.
Meanwhile, local authorities reported that more than 70% of 666 major industrial companies in Shanghai have resumed production in the past week, Vice Mayer Zhang Wei said during a regular briefing, according to Bloomberg. To be sure, the damage has already been done: Shanghai's industrial output fell 7.5% in March as COVID caused the city's industrial sector to essentially shut down, said Wu Jincheng, a local economic official.
There have been a few bright spots, however: Daily average container throughput at Shanghai Port was kept above 100,000 TEU in April.
In a Q&A with state media posted online on Friday, Shanghai’s government said it would focus on ensuring that all new infections are contained within quarantined areas and facilities and that the city would only gradually loosen restrictions on movement and activity on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis once this has been achieved (although earlier this week,
Shanghai health authorities unveiled an aggressive new COVID containment plan despite continued reductions in new cases, indicating China’s financial capital is still far from declaring victory over the country’s worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic.