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China Admits Being ‘Inadequately Prepared’ for Shanghai Coronavirus Outbreak

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Chinese Communist Party officials in charge of Shanghai “admitted” on Thursday they have been “inadequately prepared” for the city’s latest epidemic of the Chinese coronavirus, China’s state-run Global Times reported.

“Shanghai was ill prepared for the latest surge in infections, had not developed sufficient knowledge about the highly contagious Omicron variant, and its control measures have not been up to speed,” Ma Chunlei, the secretary-general of Shanghai’s government, told reporters at a regular press conference on March 31.

Ma added that Shanghai’s municipal government “accepts criticism and vowed to improve.”

Shanghai’s government issued an edict on March 27 requiring one-half of the city of 26 million inhabitants to lock down for five days at a time between March 28 and April 1. Shanghai authorities on March 31 extended the lockdown order by at least 10 days for areas that have detected new Chinese coronavirus infections since March 28.

Reuters detailed the surprise measure, writing:

The stay-at-home measure in the financial and industrial districts in the east [of Shanghai] began on Monday [March 28] and was due to lifted at 5 a.m. on Friday [April 1].

However, the city government late on Thursday [March 31] said it would lift the curbs in stages instead.

Residents living in buildings where positive cases were found will remain under lockdown for 10 more days, while those in the same housing compound or neighbourhood will face shorter extensions of restricted movement.

Shanghai has detected over 36,000 cases of the Chinese coronavirus since its latest outbreak of the disease sparked in early March, Lei Zhenglong, a senior official with China’s National Health Commission (NHC), told reporters at a press conference April 1.

China’s NHC recorded 358 new, symptomatic infections of the Chinese coronavirus in Shanghai on March 31, plus an additional 4,144 asymptomatic cases.

Shanghai’s current Chinese coronavirus epidemic is part of a nationwide resurgence of the disease. The government of northeastern China’s Jilin city began on April 1 to lift some of the city’s lockdown measures after initially imposing movement restrictions on the city’s populace in early March.

“Residents of Jilin will be able to move about freely starting Friday [April 1] for the first time in more than three weeks,” state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported March 31.

“They will be required to wear masks and, when indoors, stay 1 meter (3 feet) apart. Public gatherings in parks and squares are prohibited,” according to CCTV, which cited a Jilin city notice.

Jilin city’s March lockdown was poorly planned and administered by local Communist Party officials, resulting in a food shortage for the city’s nearly four million confined residents. After accounts of starving residents leaked online, Jilin city municipal officials were forced to issue a public apology for the fiasco.

“Due to COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus], two major wholesale food markets in Changchun have shuttered, leading to a shortfall in food supply,” Changchun Deputy Communist Party Secretary Liu Renyuan told reporters at a press conference March 29.

The problem was compounded by “a shortage of workers that has delayed deliveries to homes,” he added.

“We are particularly anxious and angry about this, and we express our deep apologies to the public for the impact and inconvenience caused,” Liu said.


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