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Shanghai steps up defences against wave of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases

Shanghai steps up defences against wave of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases

People wearing masks against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk past the Broadway Mansions, ahead of the annual National People's Congress (NPC), in Shanghai, China Feb 25, 2022. Picture taken on Feb 25, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Aly Song)

BEIJING: The Chinese financial hub of Shanghai is moving quickly to halt the spread of COVID-19 amid a rising wave of local symptomless cases, either delaying or cancelling dozens of concerts and exhibitions and shutting some public venues.

Shanghai reported 62 domestically transmitted asymptomatic infections for Tuesday (Mar 8), the seventh consecutive day of increases in such cases, official data showed on Wednesday.

The mega-city of 24.9 million also reported on Tuesday three local cases with confirmed symptoms, which China counts separately from those without.

Of the 65 cases, all but one were detected among people already under quarantine as they were close contacts of infected people reported earlier.

Shanghai's latest outbreak is small compared with those in many big cities overseas, and it has yet to impose a blanket travel curb or lockdowns.

While China has shown no sign of ditching its "zero-clearance" policy aimed at containing outbreaks as quickly as possible, it has told local governments across the country to minimise the impact of counter-COVID measures on people's daily lives.

But some degree of inconvenience has been felt in Shanghai.

Dozens of leisure events, such as concerts, exhibitions and tutoring sessions have been delayed or cancelled since the latest wave of infections emerged earlier this month.

"My happy Friday is gone," one user on Twitter-like platform Weibo wrote after several performances at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre were cancelled.

Several local parks and Buddhist temples in Shanghai have also been closed.

Including infections in Shanghai, mainland China reported 233 local cases with confirmed symptoms and 322 without symptoms for Mar 8.

Those domestically transmitted cases were found across over 40 cities.

China also reported 104 symptomatic infections and 77 asymptomatic among travellers arriving from outside the mainland for Mar 8.

There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

As of Mar 8, mainland China had reported 111,857 cases with confirmed symptoms since the pandemic began, including both local and imported ones.

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Source: Reuters/yb

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