Shanghai's measures to stem community spread of covid-19 will remain in place, even as infections drop and the city on Friday reported no new cases outside quarantined areas for the first time since the recent outbreak started.
The financial hub's fight against the outbreak "remains in a crucial stage," as the situation is still "severe and complex," Zhao Dandan, deputy head of the local health commission, said at a briefing Saturday, without addressing the significance of the new numbers.
The city of 25 million reported 10,181 new infections Friday, down from 15,032 the previous day. All were either found in lockdown or were reclassified from previously known asymptomatic cases, according to a statement Saturday.
China's economic activity contracted sharply in April as the lockdown of Shanghai and other areas around the country closed factories, snarled roads and stopped people from consuming, escalating concerns about further disruption to global supply chains.
The slump was widespread in April, with factory output contracting further and services demand much weaker than forecast. The purchasing managers indexes are the first official April data and show the extent of the damage to the economy due to the outbreak and the government's covid policies.
While Shanghai makes progress toward halting community spread, a crucial milestone in its disruptive containment effort to bring the city's worst outbreak under control, Beijing is tightening measures as the capital seeks to prevent its flareup from growing.
Starting Thursday, people in Beijing will be required to show negative test results taken within the past seven days to enter public venues or use the transit system. Beijing shut down cinemas during the five-day Labor Day holiday that started Saturday, the Beijing Daily reported.
The local health commission announced a rollout of "normalized" mass tests to all 22 million citizens after the holiday. It requires swabs to be done at least once a week after the first round of three tests completed Friday filtered 295 infections. An outbreak involving schoolchildren a week ago put several communities under lockdown, unprecedented in China's political center.
Beijing will also suspend dining in at restaurants during the holidays, and said it will increase efforts to ensure food delivery. It added 4,000 hospital beds for covid infections and is working on building more shelter hospitals to ease medical strains.
Chinese officials are now more focused on curtailing the spread of the virus within communities rather than seeking to reduce the caseload to absolute zero as the omicron variant poses unprecedented challenges to its covid strategy.
The nationwide tally of new confirmed cases eased to 1,424 on Friday from 5,659 the previous day according to the health ministry.
Shanghai citizens shouldn't relax efforts to stem community spread of the virus, and elderly residents should get vaccinated as soon as possible, Zhao said. The city reported 47 deaths Friday. The patients' average age was 82.4, and all died from underlying diseases; only three were vaccinated.