SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China sent military and thousands of health workers to Shanghai on Monday to help run COVID-19 tests for all of its 26 million people, in one of its most major public health responses ever achieved.
Some residents have been asked to wake up before dawn for nucleic acid testing in their accommodations, with many queuing in pajamas.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) dispatched more than 2,000 medical personnel recruited from the army, navy and joint logistics support forces to Shanghai on Sunday, an armed forces newspaper reported.
Several provinces such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Beijing have sent healthcare workers to Shanghai, according to media reports, with some estimates putting the total number at more than 10,000.
This is China’s largest public health response since tackling the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first discovered in early 2020. The State Council said the PLA sent more than 4,000 medical personnel to Hubei province, where Wuhan is, at the time.
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Shanghai, which began a two-stage lockdown last Monday that has been extended to confine virtually all residents to their homes, reported 8,581 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and 425 symptomatic COVID cases for April 3. He also asked residents to self-test using antigen tests for COVID-19 on Sunday.
Although the outbreak is small by global standards, the city has emerged as a test of China’s elimination strategy based on testing, tracing and quarantining all positive cases and their contacts. narrow.
The strategy has shown signs of strain, with residents complaining of overcrowded and unsanitary central quarantine centers, as well as difficulties in obtaining food supplies and essential medical aid.
Still, Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the country to curb the epidemic’s momentum as soon as possible while sticking to the “dynamic clearance” policy.
On Saturday, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who was sent to Shanghai by the central government, urged the city to “take resolute and swift action” to curb the pandemic.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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