Official says handling of COVID outbreak needs to improve

Shanghai – Shanghai’s vice mayor admitted to shortcomings in the city’s handling of its COVID-19 outbreak as a record 23 600 new cases were reported on Saturday.

Deputy Mayor Zong Ming praised the support from the public and the work of front line workers despite public criticism of strict curbs, but he said the handling of the virus needed to improve.

“We feel the same way about the problems everyone has raised and voiced,” Zong told a daily briefing. “A lot of our work has not been enough, and there’s still a big gap from everyone’s expectations. We will do our best to improve.”

About 26 million people are in lockdown in Shanghai, and residents have continued to complain about food shortages due to a lack of couriers and uncertainty concerning when lockdown curbs may end.

The government said it would conduct more testing on Saturday and would ease some movement curbs.

Some residents of housing compounds with no recent cases said they had been notified by their neighbourhood committees that they could leave their homes to stroll within their compounds.

It did not signal a change of approach, however.

“The epidemic prevention and control is now at the most critical moment, and we cannot tolerate the slightest slack,” Zong said.

Gu Jun, director of the city’s commerce commission, acknowledged problems in distributing food supplies and said distribution centres, supermarkets, and pharmacies should continue operating online as much as possible.

E-commerce company JD.com Inc. said on Saturday it had obtained a licence to deliver goods into Shanghai and hosted a live-streaming sales session joined by more than 3.5 million people.

Offered products were sold out within seconds and the hosts repeatedly pleaded for patience in response to commentators who complained that they were unable to purchase.

An official also addressed reports of patients recovering from COVID not being allowed to return to their compounds by neighbourhood committees, emphasising that there was no evidence of any risk from those that had been discharged.

Of Shanghai’s newly reported cases on Saturday, 1 015 were recorded as symptomatic, while 22 609 were asymptomatic.

(Reuters)

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