Shanghai reported more than 23,000 new infections on Saturday – mostly asymptomatic, accounting for more than 90 per cent of new domestic infections in the country.
City authorities have prepared thousands of new beds in more than 100 makeshift hospitals, Shanghai’s vice mayor Zong Ming said during a press conference Saturday.
The largest of these, a 50,000-bed hospital in the landmark National Exhibition and Convention Center, opened Saturday according to state news agency Xinhua.
As part of China’s zero-COVID policy, authorities are insisting on isolating every person who tests positive in hospital wards – which have left existing facilities overrun with patients, even if they show no severe symptoms.
Meanwhile locals have begun to chafe at lockdown restrictions, with many taking to social media to complain of food shortages and express outrage over the recent killing of a pet corgi by health workers, for fear of being infected.
An unpopular policy of separating infected children from their virus-free parents was softened this week after triggering public anger.
But Beijing is sticking to its zero-tolerance approach and is determined to squash the Shanghai outbreak, sending medical workers from around the country in as reinforcements.
Shanghai officials said Saturday they planned to perform a new round of PCR tests on the city’s entire population, after which it would begin relaxing rules in some neighbourhoods – provided they met the strict requirement of no infections in the past 14 days.