3 Shanghai officials sacked over COVID-19 response

Apr 8, 2022, 1:11 AM | Updated: Apr 9, 2022, 3:08 am
Visitors wearing face masks enjoy cherry blossoms at the Yuyuantan Park during a spring festival, F...

Visitors wearing face masks enjoy cherry blossoms at the Yuyuantan Park during a spring festival, Friday, April 8, 2022, in Beijing. Three local officials in Shanghai have been sacked over a slack response to the COVID-19 outbreak in China's largest city, where residents are complaining that harsh lockdown conditions have led to shortages of food and basic necessities. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — Three local officials in Shanghai have been sacked over a slack response to the COVID-19 outbreak in China’s largest city, where residents are complaining of harsh lockdown conditions leading to shortages of food and basic necessities.

An official notice Friday gave no details of the allegations against the three officials, but said their failure to fulfill their duties in epidemic prevention and control had allowed the virus to spread, leading to a “serious impact” on efforts to control the outbreak.

Shanghai announced more than 21,000 new local cases on Friday, of which only 824 had symptoms. Total cases in the outbreak that began last month in Shanghai have soared past the 100,000 mark, making it one of China’s most serious since the virus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019.

No additional deaths have been reported in the outbreak blamed on the hugely infectious but relatively less lethal omicron subvariant BA.2. China’s vaccination rate is around 90%, but considerably lower among the elderly.

Shanghai has placed all 26 million residents under lockdown and implemented mass testing, while requiring anyone with a positive result to be held in an isolation center, some of which have been newly created from converted gymnasiums and exhibition halls.

Some residents have received government food packages containing meat and vegetables. Many, however, are struggling to obtain rice and other basics, with online vendors sold out and delivery services unable to keep up with demand.

With no word on when the lockdown will be lifted, anxiety is rising, along with frustration over the city’s apparent lack of preparation for an extended lockdown.

Travel in and out of Shanghai has largely come to a standstill and usually bustling city streets are deserted apart from police, health workers and residents reporting for testing.

China has repeatedly enforced lengthy mass lockdowns over the two-year course of the epidemic. Shanghai, however, had largely escaped the most onerous measures under China’s “zero-COVID” strategy that aims to isolate every infected person.

Home to many of China’s wealthiest, best educated and most cosmopolitan citizens, the city was first promised a two-phase lockdown starting March 28 and lasting no more than eight days total. With little notice given, residents made a run on supermarkets, quickly leaving shelves bare.

Those measures have since been extended, leaving many families that had planned for only a limited time in quarantine without supplies. Authorities say they will determine future steps based on testing results, but have given no specifics.

Officials say Shanghai, which includes the world’s busiest port and China’s main stock exchange, has enough food. But a deputy mayor, Chen Tong, acknowledged Thursday that getting it the “last 100 meters” to households is a challenge.

City officials have apologized for mishandling the lockdown and promised to improve food supplies. The Communist Party leadership in Beijing is working to squelch complaints, especially online, in hopes of preventing the lockdown and accompanying dissatisfaction from becoming a political issue ahead of a key party congress later this year.

In a further endorsement of the government’s approach, Xi credited China’s “closed loop” management with keeping the infection rate to just 0.45% of those involved in this year’s Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games,

China’s COVID-19 policy has “once again withstood the test, contributing useful experience for the world to fight against the virus and host major international events,” Xi said in an address at a ceremony Friday honoring Chinese Games participants.

The government says it is trying to reduce the impact of its tactics, but authorities are still enforcing curbs that also block access to the industrial cities of Shenyang, Changchun and Jilin with millions of residents in the northeast.

Meanwhile, punishments meted out to officials seen as being insufficiently rigorous appears to be incentivizing local governments to take extreme measures. Dozens of local officials around the country have been sacked or otherwise punished, though no one at the central government level has been held to account.

Friday’s notice identified those fired as Cai Yongqiang, Xu Jianjun and Huang Wei, all officials at the district, neighborhood or township level.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Hershel "Woody" Williams, center, the sole surviving U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of ...
Associated Press

Last remaining WWII Medal of Honor recipient dies at 98

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Herschel W. “Woody” Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, died Wednesday. He was 98. Williams’ foundation announced on Twitter and Facebook that he died at the Veterans Affairs medical center bearing his name in Huntington. As a young Marine corporal, Williams went ahead of his […]
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Essence Fest is back in New Orleans after two-year hiatus

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Black culture, in all its glory, will be on display over the 4th of July holiday weekend in New Orleans as thousands converge on the city for the in-person return of the Essence Festival of Culture. The multiday event begins with a Thursday performance by comedian Kevin Hart in the Smoothie […]
10 hours ago
Erica Mancini, an accordionist, poses before taking the stage to perform in a Ukrainian avant garde...
Associated Press

A viral reprise: When COVID-19 strikes again and again

For New York musician Erica Mancini, COVID-19 made repeat performances. March 2020. Last December. And again this May. “I’m bummed to know that I might forever just get infected,” said the 31-year-old singer, who is vaccinated and boosted. “I don’t want to be getting sick every month or every two months.” But medical experts warn […]
10 hours ago
Tropicana Field is viewed after a baseball game, June 5, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The mayor of...
Associated Press

St. Pete mayor reopens talks on future of Rays stadium site

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, is reopening talks about the future of the Tropicana Field site where baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays play their home games. Mayor Ken Welch said Wednesday that two previous proposals for the 86-acre (348,000-square-meter) downtown location are being scrapped, with a new round of plans […]
10 hours ago
FILE - The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a media ...
Associated Press

WHO chief: U.S. abortion ruling ‘a setback,’ will cost lives

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday criticized the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. calling the decision to no longer recognize a constitutional right to abortion “a setback” that would ultimately cost lives. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing that decades of […]
10 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
3 Shanghai officials sacked over COVID-19 response