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Shanghai fears new lockdown as millions test for Covid amid sweltering heat

Millions of Shanghai residents braved sweltering heat Tuesday to wait in line for compulsory Covid tests, as growing case numbers and the emergence of a highly infectious Omicron subvariant spurred new fears of a return to mass lockdown.

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the area is about to enter another mass lockdown.

The 25 million-person city stopped its citywide lockdown at the beginning of June, but it has since proceeded to enact stringent regulations, such as constant testing and sudden lockdowns of complexes where Covid cases were discovered.

As of Tuesday, 240 Shanghai neighborhoods had been classified as medium- or high-risk locations and put under lockdown.

Shanghai officials have consistently denied that a citywide lockdown is imminent, but citizens have pointed out that they had previously been given the same assurances in March, just before the previous lockdown.

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Residents in Shanghai were advised to “prepare food and medications that can last for 14 days at home, to be on the safe side,” according to two neighborhood committees on Monday.

After being extensively shared online, the messages sparked fear among the locals, many of whom are still traumatized by their extended isolation in April and May, which resulted in severe food shortages and restricted access to medical treatment.

In response to the uproar, a neighborhood committee worker told the state-run Health Times the proposal was meant to prepare residents for the growing outbreak, as close contacts – as well as secondary contacts – of an infected case can also lead to neighborhood lockdowns.

On Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, someone said, “Fine, let’s spend our entire existence living in the terror of food scarcity and the shadow of stockpiling daily essentials.”

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“Over three years have passed; when will it be over? How many three-year periods are there in a person’s life? Another chimed in, “Enough is enough.”

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