China slams US virus ‘accusations’ as Shanghai lockdown drags on

Published on:

Shanghai (AFP) – China has slammed the United States for making “baseless accusations” about its Covid-19 policy, after a spike in cases in Shanghai prompted the US consulate to let some staff leave the locked-down megacity.

Beijing’s zero Covid strategy has come under strain since March as more than 100,000 cases in Shanghai saw its 25 million people locked down in phases, prompting complaints of food shortages and clashes with health workers .

The US Embassy said on Saturday it would allow non-essential employees to leave its consulate in Shanghai due to the spike in cases, warning Chinese citizens they could face ‘arbitrary application’ of the measures. anti-virus.

In response, Beijing expressed “strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to the baseless accusations by the US side regarding China’s epidemic control policy,” according to a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website on Saturday.

“It is the United States’ own decision. However, it should be emphasized that China’s epidemic control policy is scientific and effective,” ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, adding that Beijing had filed documents. “solemn representations” to his American counterparts.

“We are fully confident that Shanghai and other places will overcome this phase of the outbreak.”

China is swiftly sticking to a policy of instant lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions to stem the spread of the virus even as the number of daily cases in Shanghai soared under a surge fueled by Omicron.

The business center reported a record 24,943 new infections on Sunday – mostly asymptomatic, accounting for more than 90% of the national total.

Authorities have prepared tens of thousands of new beds in more than 100 makeshift hospitals under a policy of isolating anyone who tests positive for the virus, whether or not they have symptoms.

Locals have begun to chafe at the lockdown restrictions, with many taking to social media to express their anger over food shortages and tough controls – including the recent killing of a pet corgi by a health worker.

An unpopular policy of separating infected children from virus-free parents – now softened – also sparked a rare outburst of public anger this week.

But officials are not budging on their zero-tolerance approach.

The city’s health official, Wu Qianyu, told a news conference on Sunday that the city “won’t relax at all.”

Major online delivery platforms said they would bolster food stocks and recruit thousands of drivers to bolster supplies of basic goods.

In an interview with local media on Saturday, Zhang Wenhong – a leading doctor in the fight against the pandemic in Shanghai – acknowledged the impact on the healthcare system, but said “achieving the dynamic zero…will help to resume normal medical order as soon as possible”.