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Hopes rise in Shanghai’s COVID battle as two districts report no new cases


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SHANGHAI — Shanghai reported no new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday outside quarantine zones in two districts, raising hopes that the tide was turning in its fight against the outbreak, with some factories in the city making a gradual return to work .

In a high-profile event in state media, electric car company Tesla Inc resumed production at its Shanghai factory on Tuesday after a shutdown of more than three weeks.

The US automaker was on a list of 666 companies announced by the Chinese government last week that would be given priority to reopen or maintain operations in Shanghai.

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Strict lockdown measures enforced after the outbreak began in early March have left the city’s 25 million residents struggling with loss of income, erratic food supply, separation from families and poor quarantine conditions .

On Wednesday, Shanghai health official Wu Qianyu gave them an encouraging status report at a daily press conference.

“The city’s epidemic situation in recent days showed a downward trend, the number of streets and cities reporting more than 100 daily cases dropped consecutively for three days, community spread was effectively curbed,” he said. she declared.

She said the trend has led to a significant reduction in the number of people residing in “sealed areas”, where the strictest movement restrictions are enforced.

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Shanghai reported 16,407 new local asymptomatic coronavirus cases for April 19, up from 17,332 the day before. Symptomatic cases stood at 2,494, down from 3,084.

City officials said seven people infected with COVID-19 died Tuesday, the same number as Monday. Shanghai has reported 17 deaths since the start of the last outbreak, all within the past three days.

Many locals, however, said a family member had died after contracting COVID-19 since early March, but the cases had not been included in official statistics, raising doubts about their accuracy.

The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to questions about the death toll.

Sources told Reuters that Shanghai aims to stop the spread of COVID-19 outside quarantine zones by Wednesday.

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There were 390 new cases outside quarantine areas on Tuesday, down from 550 on Monday. And two of the city’s 16 districts reported no new cases outside the quarantine zones.

Other cities that have been in lockdown began easing restrictions once they stopped transmission outside quarantine zones.

BEGANT RESTART

China’s strict measures to control the pandemic, including the lockdown of Shanghai and other affected cities, have hurt the world’s second-largest economy and global supply chains.

And while priority companies have started to resume plant operations, analysts do not expect a linear resumption of production.

Most workers will have to live on site and factories face disrupted supply lines and access to markets, with authorities-ordered shutdowns in other cities and port and trucking problems rumbling. supply chains.

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Telsa will ramp up production in the next three to four days, a business executive told Shanghai Television on Tuesday. But a source familiar with the matter warned that the assembly line remained under strain and the restart was not a return to full production.

Separately, chip and circuit board substrate maker Unmicron Technology Corp said on Wednesday it would gradually resume operations at its plant in Kunshan, a city neighboring Shanghai.

COVID-19 restrictions in Kunshan had forced dozens of Taiwanese companies, many of which made components for the chip and electronics industries, to suspend operations in recent weeks. Their production is vital to many global supply chains.

Asia Electronic Material Co Ltd, which makes parts for laptops, mobile phones and digital cameras, said its Kunshan factory would remain closed. (Reporting by Brenda Goh, Beijing and Shanghai newsrooms; Writing by Marius Zaharia; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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