Shanghai has set a target to stop the spread of COVID-19 outside of quarantined areas by Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter said, which would allow China's largest city to further ease lockdown curbs and start returning to normal life, Trend reports citing Reuters.
The target will require officials to accelerate COVID testing and the transfer of positive cases to quarantine centres, according to a speech by a local Communist Party official dated Saturday, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
Shanghai has become the epicentre of China's largest outbreak since the virus was first identified in Wuhan in late 2019, and has recorded more than 320,000 COVID infections since early March when its surge began.
Locked-down Shanghai residents have expressed frustration over difficulties sourcing food, lost income, separated families and poor conditions at central quarantine centres. Shuttered factories and transport bottlenecks in many parts of China due to COVID-19 curbs are rippling through global supply chains.
Shanghai's new goal of "zero-COVID at the community level" by April 20 was communicated in recent days to the city's Communist Party cadres and organisations such as schools, according to the sources, who declined to be named as the information was not public.
China's definition of zero-COVID status at the community level means that no new cases emerge outside quarantined areas.