SHENZHEN: Most residents of the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen went into a weekend lockdown on Saturday (Sep 3) as mass COVID-19 testing kicked off in much of the city of 18 million people.
The lockdown, and the suspension of bus and subway services, came into effect two days after city authorities said rumours about a lockdown were based on a “misinterpretation” of the latest COVID-19 prevention and control measures.
Residents in six districts that account for the majority of the city’s population will be tested twice over the weekend, helping to “minimise the impact on people’s working life”, the city government said in a statement published on Saturday on its official WeChat account.
“Internet users agreed, leaving comments that strengthening the prevention and control of the epidemic on weekends in some districts of Shenzhen is the fastest and most effective way to break the chain of virus transmission.”
Those areas in the six major districts that have been classified as “high-risk areas” will remain in lockdown for seven days, with an extension possible if more positive cases are found, according to a Reuters review of district authority announcements published between Thursday and Saturday.
Lin Hancheng, a Shenzhen public health official, told a news conference on Saturday that residents should remain at home as much as possible and avoid gatherings. He did not say how many people were affected by the restrictions.
One person from each household will be allowed out from their compound once over the two days to buy food, medicines and necessities, the six districts said.
The curbs followed state media reports on Thursday quoting city health authorities as saying announcements of new COVID-19 measures had been “misinterpreted” as meaning a lockdown, calling on residents to “work and live without worry”.