US State Department Orders Non-Essential Personnel to Leave Shanghai Amid COVID-19 Surge
01:20 GMT 12.04.2022 (Updated: 02:40 GMT 12.04.2022)
The US on Saturday warned of "arbitrary" COVID-19 measures that would likely take place in response to a recent surge of infections within the locked-down financial hub of Shanghai, China. Washington also expressed that it would let some staffers leave the consulate, which is based in the city of some 25 million inhabitants.
The US Department of State issued an order on Monday calling for the departure of non-emergency US government employees, as well as their family members, from the Consulate General Shanghai consular district.
The release highlighted that Beijing's "response" to the surge in COVID-19 infections prompted the department's order.
"Do not travel to the PRC’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Jilin province, and Shanghai municipality due to COVID-19-related restrictions, including the risk of parents and children being separated," the travel advisory warned.
Americans are advised to also "reconsider travel to the PRC’s Hong Kong SAR due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws."
On Monday, Shanghai reported 22,348 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases, and 994 symptomatic cases of the contagious disease.
The financial hub's government noted that new asymptomatic cases were down from 25,173 cases the day prior.
© REUTERS / CHINA DAILYMedical workers in protective suits check a child patient as they conduct ward rounds at Shanghai New International Exhibition Hall, which has been turned into a makeshift hospital for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shanghai, China April 9, 2022. Picture taken April 9, 2022. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.
Medical workers in protective suits check a child patient as they conduct ward rounds at Shanghai New International Exhibition Hall, which has been turned into a makeshift hospital for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shanghai, China April 9, 2022. Picture taken April 9, 2022. China Daily via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.
© REUTERS / CHINA DAILY
Shanghai logged more than 130,000 COVID-19 cases since March 1, but officials have reported zero related deaths, and only one individual is believed to have a severe illness from the disease.
Shanghai's absence of COVID-19-related death has raised some eyebrows, as major cities in other countries have typically experienced a wave of COVID deaths following an outbreak or spike in infections.
Sean Sylvia, an assistant professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stressed to the Wall Street Journal that estimates should not be viewed as a true measure of the novel disease.
"That is true globally, too. We have estimates. But in a lot of places, it’s very uncertain, and China’s one of those places," Sylvia told the outlet.
Nevertheless, estimates in Hong Kong show that new COVID-19 infections are progressively decreasing. However, a report from the region last month logged 5,000 for Hong Kong between December 31 and mid-March. Experts have since said that unvaccinated, elderly individuals represented a disproportionate amount of the fatalities that occurred alongside the Omicron outbreak.