The better part of a week has passed since local authorities announced on Monday that they would be extending the lockdown in Shanghai "indefinitely". But despite authorities' best efforts (or perhaps, because of them) COVID case numbers have continued to climb at a record pace, with Shanghai recording another 20K+ COVID cases on Thursday, topping the 20K mark for the second day in a row.
Authorities reported 21,222 new cases in Shanghai alone on Thursday, marking a 7th straight daily record. For context, the city reported more cases on Thursday than the entire country saw earlier in the week.
The number of symptomatic cases has also increased substantially. Shanghai, the new epicenter of China’s latest coronavirus outbreak, has recorded more than 131,000 cases since the flare-up started on March 1.
According to the latest developments reported by the SCMP, the city has converted conference centers and public facilities into temporary quarantine and treatment facilities with tens of thousands of bunks, adding to the 77,000 hospital beds already set aside in the city of 25 million residents.
Meanwhile, rumors have emerged on social media - sourced from unwittingly leaked military documents - that the military is taking over the city...
Rumors that the military is taking over Shanghai are circulating on social media. State media debunked the rumors, but unverified surveillance footage showed troops are entering Shanghai by train. Netizens on Weibo confirmed that their community was already taken over. pic.twitter.com/Qyl7NPJvWr— Chu Yang (@ChuYang_Journ) April 7, 2022
...and that the lockdown will persist at least until May.
A suspected leaked document shows that the lockdown in Shanghai will last until May. pic.twitter.com/ah8jivG7Kd— Chu Yang (@ChuYang_Journ) April 7, 2022
Should the lockdown persist for the entirety of April, China's GDP could suffer a hit of more than one percentage point, as Goldman analysts determined that every four weeks of lockdown in the city would shave 1 percentage point off the country's GDP, given Shanghai's importance to the Chinese economy.
The city has recorded more than 131,000 COVID cases since the flare-up began on March 1. Health authorities are taking no chances, even if the vast majority of the infections – daily symptomatic cases were in triple digits – showed no symptoms, and there had been no fatality in the current wave.
"The battle against the outbreak is still very tough," according to a Thursday speech by Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan, who had been overseeing the anti-pandemic work in Shanghai since last weekend. "Any sign of relaxation or complacency is unacceptable."
After sending some 40,000 military and medical personnel to the city, the CCP has issued a call to all discharged and available troops from the PLA in a search for volunteers to join the effort to provide food and other supplies - as well as testing and security - to the center.
Beyond Shanghai, China added a total of 24,101 new cases on Friday, including 2,266 infections spotted in northeastern China’s Jilin province, the outbreak's second epicenter.
The city and its residents have already endured four rounds of tests involving every single resident between April 3 and April 7. And on Friday, the fifth round of mass testing began.
In keeping with the CCP's history of scapegoating local officials for lockdown failures, Shanghai removed three local officials in the Pudong New Area for failing to contain the virus, according to a statement from the CCP's disciplinary committee.
Finally, after suffering one public outrage after another, Shanghai residents were outraged on Friday after footage of a COVID worker beating a dog to death emerged on social media. The brutal remedy was applied after the dog's owner tested positive for COVID, according to CNN. The beating took place at a residential compound in Pudong on Wednesday.
Footage of the beating, which is being heavily censored within China, can be found below:
浦东新区曹路镇星海家园，主人阳性被带走，宠物狗狗追出来，被大白活活打死💔 pic.twitter.com/bV1FygCJng— iPaul🇨🇦🇺🇦 (@iPaulCanada) April 6, 2022