Shanghai Bans Everyone From Leaving Home, Even Walking Pets As Cases Jump

Residents should not walk in hallways, garages or open areas of their housing estates to reduce the risk of infection, an official said.

Shanghai increased lockdown restrictions for people residing in the eastern half of the city, preventing anyone from leaving home even to walk their dog as daily local Covid19 infections soared to a record 4,477 on Tuesday. All residents of the Pudong district, home to many elite financial institutions and the Shanghai Stock Exchange, will be confined to their homes and will only be able to go out to take a Covid test, according to a statement released by housing estates reviewed by Bloomberg.

In the region residents should not walk in hallways, garages or open areas of their residential compounds to reduce the risk of infection, Wu Qianyu, an official with the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, said Tuesday during a briefing. This includes walking pets.

The tougher lockdown rules came the day after China’s financial hub began isolating its 25 million people in two stages, with half the city shut for four days, followed by the other half. The aim is to test the entire city for Covid19, part of the effort to control its biggest outbreak yet. Previously, residents could go to the atrium of their buildings and walk around the open areas of their complexes.

Some may even leave the complex as long as no infection is found in theirs. While the Shanghai government said on Sunday night that residents should stay at home, the harsh house arrest was not issued until Tuesday . Covid cases rose to 4,477 on the first day of lockdown, from 3,500 reported on Monday. There were 6,886 cases nationwide as of Tuesday, according to data from China’s National Health Commission.

The Shanghai municipal government will continue to support the import of antiviral drugs and Covid vaccines, officials said at the briefing, without providing further details. China imported around 21,000 boxes of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid pill Paxlovid via Shanghai earlier this month and treated high-risk patients with the drug. The city has also implemented a number of measures, including tax cuts, extended or reduced rents and loan support for small businesses, the hard-hit retail and restaurant sectors by the outbreak, officials said.

It came after a month of less disruptive measures that failed to stem the rapid and stealthy spread of omicron in the community. As officials pledged to keep the financial hub, a critical node in the global supply chain, open to avoid disrupting the Chinese and global economy, cases have spiked as authorities have targeted more buildings and expanded the scope of testing. Authorities eventually relented, resorting to sweeping lockdowns announced Sunday evening in an attempt to reduce the spread of the virus.

So far, China’s financial markets and the port of Shanghai, which is the world’s largest, remain open and operating normally. The intensified restrictions underscore the challenge Chinese officials face in implementing President Xi Jinping’s call for containment measures that are effective in stifling Covid and minimal in their social and economic impact.

While southern China’s tech hub Shenzhen saw infections drop to single digits after emerging from a week-long blockade, cities like Langfang and Tangshan near the capital Beijing, as well as the entire northeastern province of Jilin, remained sealed for up to two weeks. When Shanghai is included, around 62 million people in China are either in solitary confinement or facing future isolation, according to calculations by Bloomberg News.

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