Shanghai, under the effect of a wave fueled by the Omicron variant, reported a record number of 24,943 new infections, mostly asymptomatic, on Sunday, accounting for more than 90% of the national total.
Faced with the worst wave of the virus in China since the start of the epidemic, the economic capital of China has been in total or partial confinement for two weeks. Under very strict health measures, the 25 million Shanghainese are forced to stay at home. Faced with criticism from the United States, on this management of the crisis, Beijing responded this Sunday.
China has accused Washington of making “baseless accusations” over its policy to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, after rising cases in Shanghai led the US consulate in that city to authorize the “departure volunteer” of non-essential diplomats.
“The risk of separation between parents and their children”
The Chinese authorities continue to defend their “zero Covid” strategy, with confinements as soon as a few cases appear. In Shanghai, they once implemented a highly controversial policy of separating coronavirus-positive children from their parents who tested negative, which they relaxed in the face of criticism.
In a new US travel warning, the State Department on Friday also recommended “not traveling” to Shanghai, “due to Covid-19 restrictions, including the risk of separation between parents and their children”. .
In response, Beijing expressed “strong displeasure 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.
“This is the decision of the United States. However, it should be emphasized that China’s epidemic control policy is scientific and effective,” ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, adding that Beijing had lodged “solemn protests” with its American counterparts.
“We have every confidence that Shanghai and other places will overcome this cycle of the epidemic,” he added. China is pursuing a policy of rapid containment, mass testing and travel restrictions to stem the spread of the virus.
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 show symptoms. Many locals have begun to chafe at the restrictions and expressed their anger via social media over food shortages and drastic measures taken to stem the outbreak, such as a health worker bludgeoning a corgi to death, a small dog.