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Xi Jinping says ‘perseverance is victory’ as Covid restrictions return to Shanghai and Beijing | China

Xi Jinping reiterated China’s commitment to zero-Covid, saying ‘persistence is victory’, as Shanghai and Beijing were hit with new lockdowns, shutdowns and mass testing just a week after the cities celebrated the easing of restrictions.

In response to China’s worst pandemic outbreak, Shanghai has spent months under an arduous and strict citywide lockdown, while authorities in Beijing have imposed localized lockdowns, closures of venues and public transport and work-from-home orders. Over the past week, the two have begun easing restrictions, with authorities praising the containment of community outbreaks of the Omicron variant.

But on Thursday, the two cities returned to high alert for Covid cases, with new lockdowns in Shanghai districts home to millions of people and the closure of entertainment venues in Beijing’s populous Chaoyang district. The return to restrictions has caused concern and frustration among residents.

On Friday, Chinese state media reported that the president demanded that officials effectively coordinate epidemic prevention with economic and social development, and “resolutely overcome some of the difficulties.” According to the Xinhua report, Xi made the remarks on Wednesday during a visit to Sichuan.

“Perseverance is victory,” Xi said. “We should unswervingly adhere to the general policy of ‘dynamic cleaning’, build trust, eliminate interference, overcome paralyzing thoughts, pay close attention to core epidemic prevention and control tasks, and resolutely consolidate the hard-won results. prevention and control of epidemics. control.”

The Chinese government remains committed to its “dynamic cleaning” policy of responding quickly to outbreaks to bring the number of cases in the community down to zero. The resource-intensive policy includes mass quarantine centers for people considered close contacts – often as far apart as being a neighbor in the same building but several floors away. Its impact had a significant effect on the Chinese economy.

Experts predict China will struggle to meet its economic growth target of around 5.5% this year as virus lockdowns force business and supply chain shutdowns.

Half of Shanghai’s residents, or about 14 million people, were ordered to undergo testing this week. All residents of the affected districts, which include Pudong and Xuhui, have been ordered to stay indoors until it is over, with some residents given notices detailing two days of lockdown and 12 days of testing .

A lockdown was also imposed in Minhang district. New barricades were again erected around certain buildings or streets. Hundreds of thousands of people are still unable to leave their homes, and a city health official said Thursday that residents of seven districts are to get swabbed starting Saturday as part of a campaign to “test all who should be tested”.

“We must not be let off to the slightest degree or let our guard down,” the official said.

The news sparked alarm and unease among residents, with reports of grocery stores packed as people once again stocked up on essentials, just days after celebrating a return to more normal life.

On Thursday, officials traced three infections from Shanghai to Red Rose, a popular beauty salon in the trendy former French Concession of Xuhui district. The store, which reopened on June 1 when the city did, had served 502 customers from 15 of Shanghai’s 16 districts in the past eight days, local media The Paper reported.

“When is it going to end?” a Weibo user commented on the Red Rose. “I just want to have a normal life.”

“I don’t know what else we can do, can we prevent infectious diseases? said another. “We do nucleic acid tests every day, we worry every day! As long as there are humans, there must be infectious diseases! I voluntarily face life, old age, sickness and death! Friends, what do you think?

Some have urged people to wait until the outbreak subsides before going out to “have fun”. Others said blaming people who caught the virus was a case of “Stockholm syndrome”.

“Why would anyone scold infected people? They didn’t break the law, and that’s the freedom of the people,” one said.

China reported 73 new local infections on Friday, including eight in Beijing and 11 in Shanghai, according to the National Health Commission.

Reuters contributed to this story

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Post expires at 8:24am on Wednesday June 22nd, 2022