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Coronavirus

Shanghai Disney shut amid record daily local COVID infections

City has shut schools and launched widespread testing program

A masked visitor dressed as a Disney character takes a selfie at Shanghai Disney Resort in May 2020.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -- China's financial hub of Shanghai reported on Monday a record daily surge in local COVID-19 infections as authorities scrambled to test residents and rein in the omicron variant, while closing its Disney DIS.N resort until further notice.

Until recent weeks relatively unscathed by coronavirus, Shanghai reported 24 new domestically transmitted COVID cases with confirmed symptoms for Sunday and 734 local asymptomatic infections, official data showed on Monday.

It is the fourth consecutive day that Shanghai's local asymptomatic infections have increased.

Although the tally of infections is tiny by global standards, Shanghai has quickly followed China's "dynamic clearance" policies, shutting schools and testing residential compounds in the effort to limit the spread of the virus.

The city also shut the Shanghai Disney Resort from Monday until further notice.

"When it comes to the entire situation of epidemic control and prevention that we are facing, it is very complex and serious, and it is also a very big test for us," city health official Wu Jinglei told a news briefing.

Shanghai will stick with "dynamic clearance", Wu added, saying he hoped for continued public support for the policy.

But there were signs of frustration with the ad hoc, district-by-district approach.

"Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen have had three different epidemic response models," said a user of China's Twitter-like Weibo network.

"Hong Kong is the worst but will be the first to open up," the writer, going by the name zangyn, said in a widely shared post. "Shenzhen is the most effective, and Shanghai may be the most tiring, and even the most miserable."

The severity of outbreak responses by Shanghai's compounds and residential districts varied, with some opting for lockdowns as long as two weeks. Some in other sealed-off districts said they had not been told how long they would have to stay home.

Residents' committees helping to organize testing programs also encountered challenges. One compound distributed tokens to prevent outsiders from taking advantage of free tests.

Including Shanghai infections, mainland China reported a total of 1,947 new locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms on Sunday, data from the National Health Commission showed, up from 1,656 a day earlier.

The number of new local asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 2,384 up from 2,177 a day earlier. The death toll was unchanged at 4,638, with no new deaths.

By Sunday, mainland China had reported 132,226 cases with confirmed symptoms, both among locals and arrivals from outside.

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