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PTI

China on Friday reported more than 3,400 positive and 20,700 asymptomatic coronavirus cases, majority of them in Shanghai as the city of 26 million continued to reel under over fortnight-long lockdown to contain the virus amid growing discontent among locals over lack of food and medical supplies.

The positive cases continued to be the highest in Shanghai.

The Chinese mainland on Thursday reported 3,472 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, besides 20,782 asymptomatic cases, according to the National Health Commission (NHC).

China's economic hub Shanghai reported 3,200 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and 19,872 local asymptomatic carriers on Thursday, the municipal health commission said on Friday.

The city has already conducted many rounds of testing and built temporary hospitals, including in stadiums and swimming pools to treat both positive and asymptomatic cases.

On Wednesday China reported 3,020 new confirmed and 26,391 asymptomatic COVID infections as the cases continue the spiral upward challenging the country's zero-virus case policy.

Over the past 24 hours, 28,778 close contacts of coronavirus patients were released from medical observation on the mainland, the NHC said.

Significantly, the cases of coronavirus, which emerged first in Wuhan 2019 and turned into a global pandemic, are spiralling in China when the rest of the world began relaxing all the controls after bringing the virus under control.

The situation in Shanghai is so disquieting that even the official Chinese media started highlighting the public discontent.

As the city of Shanghai is going through the most difficult time in its fight against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, doubt, anxiety and fatigue are noticeable among local residents and some heart-wrenching stories could easily arouse the public mood, the state-run Global Times reported on Friday.

It is indeed the most difficult time for Shanghai as intensive public anger flooded the internet, the report said.

Millions of people in Shanghai faced various difficulties in the past weeks such as food shortage, delayed transfer of their infected neighbours to collective quarantine places, and the chaotic handling of residents' daily requests in some neighbourhoods, the Post report said.

The worst affected are the elderly population. Shanghai is one of China's first cities to develop a large ageing population.

According to the 2019 Shanghai Elderly Population and ageing Business Monitoring Statistics, Shanghai's elderly population of 60 and over is approximately 5.815 million, suggesting that one in every three people is an elder. The number of elderly people living alone among them reached 317,400, the South China Morning Post reported.

This group of people became one the most vulnerable ones during Shanghai's indefinite lockdown because the majority of them suffer from chronic diseases, it said.

China's zero-case policy runs contrary to global trends. People's livelihoods, and their spirits, have been put to the test; both will affect public trust in the government, the Post report said.

But Chinese President Xi Jinping continued to insist on the country following the zero-case policy. "Given that the global COVID pandemic situation is still grave, we must never relax our response. Victory comes from perseverance," Xi said during a tour of Hainan province on Thursday.

We must always put the people and their lives first, adhere to the principle of guarding against imported cases and domestic resurgences, and follow a science-based, targeted approach and zero-COVID policy, he said.

People must not drop their guard, lose drive, take chances or slacken efforts, he said.
 

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