Four Megacities Start Regular, Mandatory Testing, Zero-COVID Policy May Come to an End: Analysis

News analysisFour cities in China have reportedly proposed to regularly conduct compulsory massive nucleic acid testing after Shanghai announced that it achieved “basic zero-clearance at the social level.” The move is regarded by some analysts as a way of  “coexisting with the virus,” and indicates that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) might be ending its zero-COVID policy amid economic impacts. The four cities each have populations of over 10 million people such as Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, and Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, as well as megacities of over 20 million people such as Beijing and Shanghai (the largest city in China). “It is actually a disguised ‘coexistence with the virus’ or a middle way of it,” said Da Kang, China current affairs commentator, referring to the megacities’ normalization of nucleic acid testing. The deteriorating economy during the anti-pandemic containments may be the main incentive for the Chinese authorities to change their lockdown policy, said Da Kang, adding, “It is a hefty setback for the CCP’s ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ approach, that Shanghai paid heavily for.” China’s economic center Shanghai, hit by the country’s worst epidemic outbreak, suffers a weeks-long stringent lockdown and is seeing rare declines in industrial output and retail sales. On April 29, CCP leader Xi Jinping held a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee to discuss the current economic situation in China. The meeting concluded that the economy should be stabilized while fighting against the epidemic, the cities’ core functions should be safeguarded while maintaining social stability, and transportation and logistics must be ensured, according to official media reports. Da Kang commented during his self-media program that epidemic prevention and control used to be an “overwhelming” political task, but the CCP has found it can’t have a narrow focus. “Basically, it can be said that the “zero-clearance game” is over, and the era of severe zero-COVID is over,” Da Kang said. A health worker takes a swab sample from a woman, to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a swab collection site in Beijing, China, on May 3, 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images) Four Cities Turn to Regular Mass Testing Shanghai announced on April 30 that it had achieved “zero-clearance at the social level” although more than 10,000 new infections were reported the day before. Officials claimed that all of these infections were found within the isolation zone, that is to say, “zero-clearance at the social level” refers to no cases found outside the quarantine area. The veracity of this official data is questionable due to the CCP’s practice of fabricating figures when the real figures don’t make them look good. According to the official media CCTV on May 2, there are still more than 14,000 contained areas in Shanghai, of which 2.76 million people are required to stay at home, 5.51 million people in the control areas are not allowed to leave residential compounds, and more than 15 million people are located in the prevention areas with limited activities. After claiming it reached zero cases, Shanghai authorities first proposed the normalization of nucleic acid testing on April 27, when city authorities announced over 500 sampling sites were set up citywide. Li Qiang, the CCP secretary of the municipality stressing that normalizing sampling sites would be treated as “a critical infrastructure” to be constructed at an accelerated pace. In a bid to further promote such infrastructure, authorities of Hangzhou, Wuhan, and Beijing grant free nucleic acid testing to local residents. Officials in Shanghai said testing will be free from May 1 to June 30. Starting April 28, Hangzhou city requires citizens to complete a sampling for nucleic acid testing every 48 hours, otherwise, they won’t be permitted to “travel normally,” China’s official media Xinhua reported. The city has set up more than 10,000 sampling sites for this purpose. Wuhan municipal authorities stipulate a round of screening every three days. Starting May 3, residents must provide proof of negative testing or sample certificates every 72 hours. If not, their health code will be turned to the “gray code,” which incurs travel limitations. Beijing embarks on stabilizing nucleic acid test starting May 5, but with add-ons to over 20 categories of workers, key groups of people designated as applying “different normalized requirements,” according to Beijing’s leading group for epidemic prevention. For example, staff who work for the capital city’s Communist Party and government agencies, enterprises, and institutions, and other social units are required to undergo testing once a week, but transient workers have additional curbs according their category. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Follow Shawn Lin

Four Megacities Start Regular, Mandatory Testing, Zero-COVID Policy May Come to an End: Analysis

News analysis

Four cities in China have reportedly proposed to regularly conduct compulsory massive nucleic acid testing after Shanghai announced that it achieved “basic zero-clearance at the social level.” The move is regarded by some analysts as a way of  “coexisting with the virus,” and indicates that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) might be ending its zero-COVID policy amid economic impacts.

The four cities each have populations of over 10 million people such as Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, and Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, as well as megacities of over 20 million people such as Beijing and Shanghai (the largest city in China).

“It is actually a disguised ‘coexistence with the virus’ or a middle way of it,” said Da Kang, China current affairs commentator, referring to the megacities’ normalization of nucleic acid testing.

The deteriorating economy during the anti-pandemic containments may be the main incentive for the Chinese authorities to change their lockdown policy, said Da Kang, adding, “It is a hefty setback for the CCP’s ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ approach, that Shanghai paid heavily for.”

China’s economic center Shanghai, hit by the country’s worst epidemic outbreak, suffers a weeks-long stringent lockdown and is seeing rare declines in industrial output and retail sales.

On April 29, CCP leader Xi Jinping held a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee to discuss the current economic situation in China. The meeting concluded that the economy should be stabilized while fighting against the epidemic, the cities’ core functions should be safeguarded while maintaining social stability, and transportation and logistics must be ensured, according to official media reports.

Da Kang commented during his self-media program that epidemic prevention and control used to be an “overwhelming” political task, but the CCP has found it can’t have a narrow focus.

“Basically, it can be said that the “zero-clearance game” is over, and the era of severe zero-COVID is over,” Da Kang said.

Epoch Times Photo
A health worker takes a swab sample from a woman, to be tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a swab collection site in Beijing, China, on May 3, 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

Four Cities Turn to Regular Mass Testing

Shanghai announced on April 30 that it had achieved “zero-clearance at the social level” although more than 10,000 new infections were reported the day before. Officials claimed that all of these infections were found within the isolation zone, that is to say, “zero-clearance at the social level” refers to no cases found outside the quarantine area.

The veracity of this official data is questionable due to the CCP’s practice of fabricating figures when the real figures don’t make them look good.

According to the official media CCTV on May 2, there are still more than 14,000 contained areas in Shanghai, of which 2.76 million people are required to stay at home, 5.51 million people in the control areas are not allowed to leave residential compounds, and more than 15 million people are located in the prevention areas with limited activities.

After claiming it reached zero cases, Shanghai authorities first proposed the normalization of nucleic acid testing on April 27, when city authorities announced over 500 sampling sites were set up citywide. Li Qiang, the CCP secretary of the municipality stressing that normalizing sampling sites would be treated as “a critical infrastructure” to be constructed at an accelerated pace.

In a bid to further promote such infrastructure, authorities of Hangzhou, Wuhan, and Beijing grant free nucleic acid testing to local residents. Officials in Shanghai said testing will be free from May 1 to June 30.

Starting April 28, Hangzhou city requires citizens to complete a sampling for nucleic acid testing every 48 hours, otherwise, they won’t be permitted to “travel normally,” China’s official media Xinhua reported.

The city has set up more than 10,000 sampling sites for this purpose.

Wuhan municipal authorities stipulate a round of screening every three days. Starting May 3, residents must provide proof of negative testing or sample certificates every 72 hours. If not, their health code will be turned to the “gray code,” which incurs travel limitations.

Beijing embarks on stabilizing nucleic acid test starting May 5, but with add-ons to over 20 categories of workers, key groups of people designated as applying “different normalized requirements,” according to Beijing’s leading group for epidemic prevention.

For example, staff who work for the capital city’s Communist Party and government agencies, enterprises, and institutions, and other social units are required to undergo testing once a week, but transient workers have additional curbs according their category.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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Shawn Lin is a Chinese expatriate living in New Zealand. He has contributed to The Epoch Times since 2009, with a focus on China-related topics.