Shanghai lets 4 million people out of their homes as Covid rules ease

BEIJING – Shanghai allowed 4 million more people to leave their homes on Wednesday as the anti-virus program took control shut down China’s largest city easing, while the International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for China and warned global flows of industrial goods could be disrupted.

A total of nearly 12 million people in a city of 25 million people are allowed to go outdoors after the first easing Last week, health official Wu Ganyu said at a press conference. For the first time, the virus has been “effectively controlled” in some areas of the city, Wu said.

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Under the latest changes, more than 4 million people were placed in areas where the status changed from closed to controlled, Wu said. He said some people were not allowed to leave their neighborhoods and mass gatherings were banned.

Meanwhile, the IMF has cut its growth forecast for China this year to 4.4% from 4.8% due to the closures in Shanghai and other industrial hubs. This is nearly half of last year’s 8.1% increase and well below the ruling Communist Party’s target of 5.5%.

China’s case count in the most recent spike in infections is relatively low, but the ruling party is implementing the “zero-covid” strategy closed major cities to isolate every case.

On Wednesday, the government reported 19,927 new cases in mainland China, all but 2,761 asymptomatic cases. Shanghai accounted for 95% of the total, or 18,902 cases, of which 2,495 had symptoms.

Volunteers assist people during neighborhood Covid tests in Shanghai’s Pudong district on Tuesday. Liu Jin / AFP via Getty Images

The Shanghai municipal health authority said seven people infected with Covid-19 had died on Tuesday but said those deaths were due to cancer, heart disease and other diseases. All but two over 60 years old.

Shanghai closing businesses and confining most of the population to their homes starting March 28 after the number of infections spiked. That led to complaints about lack of access to food and medicine supplies. People in Shanghai who have tested positive but have no symptoms have been asked to be placed in isolation centers set up in exhibition halls and other public buildings.

Official data this week showed that economic growth in the first three months of this year fell from the final quarter of 2021.

The shutdowns in China are “likely to disrupt supplies elsewhere” and could add pressure to inflation, the IMF said in a report.

The ruling party has promised tax refunds and other aid to businesses but is dodging large-scale stimulus spending. That strategy will take longer to bear fruit, economists say, and Beijing may need to spend more or cut interest rates.

China’s leaders have promised to try to reduce the human and economic costs of epidemic control by shifting to a “dynamic clean-up” strategy that isolates residential areas and smaller areas. instead of the whole city. However, many regions appear to be enforcing stricter controls after Shanghai officials were criticized for not acting aggressively enough.

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