søndag 3. april 2022

Shanghai’s Quarantine System Strained by Flood of Cases

As Shanghai fights China’s largest COVID-19 outbreak since the first wave, tens of thousands of people with mild or no symptoms are waiting in exhibition centers, stadiums, and empty apartment buildings. Isolating mild and asymptomatic cases to prevent transmission is a pillar of China’s “COVID zero” strategy. But with nearly 37,000 cases logged in March, Shanghai is struggling to find places to put them. Public buildings have been converted into temporary “shelter hospitals,” or fangcang, adding tens of thousands of beds to relieve pressure on the public health system.

In the face of rising cases, the country updated guidelines on March 15 to allow patients with mild symptoms to be sent to centralized quarantine facilities instead of hospitals. Chen Erzhen, head of Shanghai’s central quarantine treatment team, told state-run media People’s Daily on Friday that COVID patients admitted to centralized quarantine facilities can be discharged after testing negative twice in a row. The process usually takes seven to ten days for asymptomatic patients, according to Chen. The city has reported over 51,000 infections since March 1, including 35,949 asymptomatic cases in the last seven days.

On Sunday, the first batch of over 200 patients were set to be discharged from the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center, domestic media reported.