Shanghai health officials ordered the lockdown of three residential complexes in the Pudong New Area after discovering five COVID-19 cases there. The infected individuals were cargo workers at the Shanghai Pudong International airport. At least 6,000 people are affected by the lockdown.
On Aug. 20, two cases of infections were reported at the airport, including that of an Ethiopian national. Authorities immediately locked down the neighborhoods where these two individuals lived. On Saturday, three more cases were discovered, increasing the number of infections to five.
The local administration conducted nucleic acid tests of all citizens in the residential complexes. Some people complained about being woken up at 3 a.m. for the tests. All five infections came from a group that is prioritized for the country’s vaccination program.
Earlier on Aug. 18, a nurse from Shanghai’s Songjiang District was found to have been infected. A health investigation found that the nurse had not left Shanghai in the previous 14 days. The Chinese Communist Party has admitted to a resurgence in COVID-19 infections across the country, blaming it on imports.
“The nurse’s coronavirus case, which seems to have been domestically contracted, foils the narrative,” according to Breitbart.
Travelers departing from Pudong Airport will now have to provide nucleic acid test reports before they can fly.
More than 80 percent of adults in Shanghai have been fully vaccinated; the city has technically achieved herd immunity. However, the latest infections raise questions about the effectiveness of the vaccination campaign. All five cargo workers and the nurse were fully vaccinated.
Zhong Nanshan, communist China’s top epidemiologist, stated that the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including Chinese-made ones, against new virus variants, had diminished after a usage period of half a year. He had earlier claimed that Chinese vaccines provided 100 percent protection against intensive care admissions and deaths.
Zhang Wenhong, an infectious disease doctor from Shanghai, suggested that the world should learn how to co-exist with the coronavirus. In a post on the Chinese social network Weibo, the doctor stated that even if everyone were to be vaccinated, data suggested that COVID-19 would still continue to spread, albeit with reduced fatalities. A former minister of health called his suggestion an irresponsible strategy.
The emergence of COVID-19 infections forced authorities to shut down cargo traffic at the Pudong Airport which is the busiest airport in China by freight volume. This is expected to affect international cargo operations. Airfreight prices, which are already up by 20 to 40 percent this month in some routes, will rise even more.
“Due to epidemic prevention and control measures now in place at airports, delivery times will be extended, with efficiency set to fall, adding up to higher costs,” a manager surnamed Zhang at a cold-chain logistics company told the Global Times.
According to market watcher Qi Qi, Pudong’s international air cargo capacity will be restored only after the outbreak is brought under control. It expects the freight rate to return back to pre-pandemic levels in Pudong in one to two weeks.