197 New Cases in Shanghai, Guangzhou Halts COVID Testing

By Ned Kelly, December 1, 2022

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Shanghai Health Commission reported a total of 23 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and 174 local asymptomatic cases this morning, Thursday, December 1.

Of the 197 new cases reported, 189 tested positive in central quarantine, while 8 tested positive during regular screening.

That is 10 more cases than yesterday's 187 – an increase of 5%.

New Shanghai cases by district...

The 4 local cases that tested positive outside central quarantine were in the following areas:

  • 3 in Minhang

  • 1 in Qingpu

The 19 local cases that tested positive in central quarantine were in the following areas:

  • 7 in Pudong

  • 4 in Jing'an

  • 2 in Baoshan

  • 2 in Changning

  • 2 in Minhang

  • 1 in Fengxian

  • 1 in Songjiang

The 4 local asymptomatic cases that tested positive outside central quarantine were in the following areas:

  • 2 in Pudong

  • 1 in Changning

  • 1 in Hongkou

The 170 local asymptomatic cases that tested positive in central quarantine were in the following areas:

  • 32 in Pudong

  • 16 in Minhang

  • 14 in Huangpu

  • 12 in Changning

  • 12 in Jiading

  • 12 in Qingpu

  • 12 in Songjiang

  • 11 in Baoshan

  • 9 in Putuo

  • 9 in Yangpu

  • 8 in Hongkou

  • 8 in Xuhui

  • 6 in Jing'an

  • 4 in Fengxian

  • 4 in Jinshan

  • 1 in Chongming

8 new community cases...

The eight new COVID-19 community cases live in Changning, Hongkou, Minhang, Pudong and Qingpu districts.

And despite there being eight of them, not one of them had been to Cages Jing'an. It might've helped that it has been closed the last few days, but still: Miracles. Do. Happen.

Especially around Christmastime.

Anyway, they had been to a whole load of places all over town  cue red codes, quarantine, quarrels with the CDC.

Blah blah blah, blah blah blah.

Exclusive! Chinese scientists prove Omicron’s pathogenicity has decreased...

Not a That's Shanghai exclusive, but a state mouthpiece Global Times exclusive, published today.

And we quote:

"This reminds us not to panic about Omicron, and for ordinary people, the damage caused by coronavirus has markedly diminished compared to the original strain."

As Bobby Zimmerman once sung, for the Global Times they are a-changin'...

Guangzhou stops COVID testing, opens restaurants...

Guangzhou has been engaged in a long, drawn-out battle with COVID-19 for almost two months, with the city reporting close to 10,000 daily cases at the peak of the outbreak.

The city ordered the closure of restaurants, and residents in a number of districts were advised not to leave their homes, while public transport was halted. 

But then, yesterday  November 30  the city was surprised by a string of announcements allowing millions of people’s lives and businesses to almost return to normal.

Here’s a rundown of exactly what happened.

Mass COVID Testing Sites Closed

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An empty test site in Guangzhou

In the early morning of November 30, when people were on the way to work and getting their daily COVID tests, many communities and businesses were told that their local testing sites would close later in the day.

By the evening, almost all of them had. This morning, the That’s team in Guangzhou explored the city and almost all local testing sites were still closed.

So, why did this happen? 

On November 11 the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council released a series of policies relating to epidemic prevention and control, one of which stated that mass testing should only be implemented during an outbreak if the source or chain of infection of a said outbreak is unclear, or if community transmission continues for a long period of time. 

READ MORE: How is China Changing Its COVID Testing Policies?

Temporary Control Areas Disappeared

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Red barriers in an area previous under temporary control have been torn down, ready to be removed

Shortly after the news that COVID-19 testing sites would be closed, several districts in the city announced that they would be removing temporary control areas, essentially meaning that the only areas affected by the virus would be those marked as high- or low-risk.

This is highly significant because it means that only low- and high-risk areas can be locked down, and only buildings or subdistricts can be defined as such (not entire districts or cities).

Businesses Began Reopening

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The Happy Monk already open for business in Guangzhou's Yuexiu district.

Yesterday evening, and at various points throughout today, restaurants, gyms, KTV, bars, massage parlors and all other establishments that were told to close during the outbreak received notice that they could begin business operations. 

Of course, businesses in low- or high-risk areas will have to wait until their risk status is downgraded, but as of press time, there are even restaurants in Haizhu District – the worst effected – allowing people to eat inside. 

Negative COVID Tests No Longer Required in Some Areas

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Hundreds of people wait to get tested outside a hospital in Guangzhou

With testing sites disappearing and businesses reopening, people all over the city were wondering how they could enter places without a negative test issued within 24 or 48 hours.

Well, this morning one of our colleagues in Guangzhou headed to the Public Security Bureau on the border of Haizhu and Yuexiu districts.

Government buildings usually require a negative test issued within 24 hours, so you can imagine how our colleague was feeling on the way to renew his visa and his test result from last night still hadn’t appeared. 

Well, when he arrived and began explaining his story, security quickly clarified that it was no longer needed, and a simple green health code would suffice. 

Furthermore, several businesses, including restaurants and bars, have been informing customers that they will not need a test result to get in when they open today and over the weekend  all that is required is a mask, a green code and a desire to eat and drink until you burst.  

Some places do still require you to have a negative test issued within 24 or 48 hours, such as hospitals, train stations and airports.

So what does it all mean?

The aforementioned changes to the city of Guangzhou are not unique; they are all in line with policy changes outlined by the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council.

We’ve seen several cities around the country trying to implement them, with varying degrees of success.

However, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council called another press conference on November 29 (the day before Guangzhou began changing its policies) reiterating that this is the new way the country is handling the virus. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Guangzhou is totally open; low- and high-risk areas still exist and so do quarantine facilities. But it does mean that if you aren’t in an area with COVID cases, life can essentially continue as normal.

We told you: Miracles. Do. Happen.

Especially around Christmastime.

China COVID hot spots...

Below is a list of places that reported 1,000 or more COVID-19 cases yesterday – locally transmitted and asymptomatic combined – that you would be best advised to avoid like the... like the pathogenicity decreased Omicron strain:

  • 7,914 Guangdong

  • 6,639 Chongqing

  • 5,043 Beijing

  • 2,338 Shanxi

  • 1,414 Sichuan

Total China cases fall 4.8%...

The total cases recorded in China yesterday was 35,800, down 1,812 from the previous day's 37,612.

That's a decrease of 4.8%, and the third day in a row the numbers have fallen.

You know what we always say – Guangzhou can't get COVID if they never get tested.


For all the latest Shanghai (and China) COVID-19 news, follow us on WeChat:

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[Cover image via NIAID-RML]

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