Shanghai's Covid cases jumped to a three-month high as city officials quietly shuts schools and a raft of other venues to try to rein in a flareup that's hit the financial hub just days before one of China's most important political events.
The city reported 47 new infections for Wednesday, the most since July 13 when a brief flare-up revived fears of another general lockdown. Of the latest cases, all but two were found in quarantine. Beijing recorded 18 cases Wednesday.
While small by international standards, the flareup is occurring just days before China's once-in-five-years Party Congress, when President Xi Jinping is expected to secure a precedent-breaking third term in power.
Xi has made Covid Zero a cornerstone of his leadership, despite its growing social and economic cost, and China's propaganda machine has ramped up its defense of the policy this week in a sign there'll be no shift toward living with the virus any time soon.
Several schools in Shanghai have suspended in-person classes as the fear of infection spread grows, according to parents and social media posts. At least five districts have closed entertainment venues, including cinemas, bars and gyms, in an effort to stamp out transmission, according to statements issued by Covid prevention offices.
Authorities said Sunday there's no citywide school shutdown after speculation rippled through social media that the measure would be rolled out. But the creeping suspensions, as well as a ramp up in other restrictions like the lockdown of neighborhoods and individual residential compounds have left Shanghai's 25 million residents on edge.
Social media users lamented the never-ending cycle of shutdowns and reopenings that's a feature of China's Covid Zero policy. Others speculated whether they may face another lockdown just months after a two-month ordeal that saw many in Shanghai struggle to access food and medical care.
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