US orders diplomats to leave Shanghai amid COVID-19 outbreak | international | News

An embassy spokesman said on Tuesday that the United States has ordered all non-essential staff at its consulate in Shanghai to leave the Chinese city amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus and a strict closure by the authorities.

In a statement, the spokesperson said the State Department had ordered the employees and their families to leave “due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the impact of restrictions related to the response of the People’s Republic of China.”

The text added that US diplomats also expressed “concern for the safety and well-being of US citizens to officials in the People’s Republic of China.”

Shanghai has begun to ease the imprisonment of some neighborhoods

The Asian giant is still implementing a “no virus” policy consisting of trying to completely eradicate the infection through strict confinement, extensive testing and travel restrictions.

Shanghai, the country’s economic capital, has implemented the country’s strictest restrictions since the virus emerged in Wuhan in 2019, with severe restrictions on food purchases and thousands forced into quarantine centres.

The mega-city reported more than 23,000 new infections on Tuesday and is keeping most of its 25 million residents under lockdown.

The US embassy said last week that it would allow its non-essential workers to leave the city due to the outbreak and alerted its citizens in China to the “arbitrary” measures to combat the coronavirus in the country.

The spokesperson said the State Department is now asserting that the “best thing” for staff and their families is to “reduce numbers and de-escalate operations as we deal with changing conditions on the ground.”

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This is happening despite the fact that restrictions have been eased in some neighborhoods.

The authorities announced that they would gradually begin allowing residents in areas with the lowest number of cases to leave their homes, although it was not clear how many people would be able to leave their homes or when.

China has a strict “zero COVID” policy with the goal of stamping out infection through strict lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions.

Shanghai has been hit by some of the harshest measures since the virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2019, with a strict lockdown making it difficult to buy food and sending thousands of people to quarantine centres.

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The authorities indicated that they would classify the city’s housing into three levels based on the number of injuries.

Shanghai official, Gu Hongwei, said Monday that the “different prevention and control measures” will reflect “actual conditions” on the ground.

People in “closed control areas” or “controlled management areas” will remain confined to their homes or confined to their residences.

For their part, residents of residential communities that have not recorded any cases in the past 14 days will be able to leave their homes. (me)

Sacha Woodward

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