City officials said Shanghai would blockade 2.7 million districts and carry out a mass coronavirus test on Saturday as big cities in China struggle to get out of the punishable curb altogether.
The city relaxed many restrictions last week after China has locked most of its 25 million inhabitants home since March as China fought the worst outbreak of Covid in two years.
However, the blockade was not completely lifted, hundreds of thousands of people in China’s largest city were still restricted to their homes, and several housing estates were given new stay-at-home orders.
The southwestern district of Minhang, home to 2.7 million people, will be placed under “closed control” on Saturday morning and all residents will be tested, district officials said in a social media post on Thursday.
“After the samples are collected, the closure will be lifted,” they added, without giving a specific time or date.
The statement also did not state what action would be taken if any of the district residents were tested positive.
Under China’s rigorous Zero-COVID approach, all positive cases are isolated and close relationships (often including the entire building or community in which they live) are isolated.
Shanghai reported nine new local infections on Thursday — not Minhang.
The district’s announcement raised fears among some social media users that the blockage could be extended beyond Saturday if any incident was found.
“After the samples are collected, we need to clarify if (blockage) is really lifted,” one user wrote to Weibo.
“What if I get unusual results after the test? Do you want to continue the blockade?” Asked another person.
The blockade of Shanghai, the world’s leading shipping hub, threatened to put further pressure on the already tense international supply chain.
However, the city has been slowly revived recently.
When people start working in the office, commuters return to the subway and buses, and residents gather in parks and on the city’s historic waterfront.
However, residents of a facility in downtown Xuhui have protested this week’s rules, and others are rubbing under ongoing restrictions.
Meanwhile, Beijing, the capital of China, has made a smoother transition after closing restaurants, gyms and subway stations last month to stop small outbreaks.