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Shanghai creates ‘white list’ so people can return to work

In this April 26, 2022 photo, a villager carrying baggage returns home after being quarantined due to local COVID-19 cases found in Lianqin Village of Beicai Town in Pudong New Area, Shanghai. (JIN LIWANG / XINHUA)

Shanghai is building a white list for workers in industrial companies, major construction projects and commercial enterprises in its push for the safe resumption of work as the city experiences a steady decline in daily COVID-19 infections.

A total of 192 new cases of infection were found among people not in quarantine with exposure risk to the virus from Sunday to Tuesday, accounting for just over 1 percent of the total locally transmitted cases, while the rest were all found among people in quarantine, said the city government.

Zhao Dandan, deputy director of Shanghai's health commission, told a news conference on Wednesday that the city reported 260 new confirmed cases, 4,722 asymptomatic cases and 16 deaths on Tuesday.

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"The combined nucleic acid and antigen tests and the corresponding control measures were showing their effect as the number of people living in locked-down zones has been dropping steadily while the number of people in precautionary zones is increasing," he said.

The government has been pushing for the safe resumption of work, and a white list has been established for workers in industrial companies, major construction projects and commercial enterprises

In the meantime, more than 65,000 patients were discharged from designated hospitals after treatment and medical observation during the past May Day holiday.

Zhao said the recovered COVID-19 patients are required to undergo a seven-day self-health monitoring at home and are exempt from taking community testing with others.

The local government and community should arrange an individual nucleic acid test for the recovered on the seventh day at their doorstep, or transport them in a closed-loop fashion to a public hospital to take the test, Zhao said.

"If the result is positive, the person must be sent back to designated hospitals for quarantine," he said. "In this case, the person's test results will not affect the risk level of the community and the apartment building where they live."

As the daily new infections continue to decline, the government has also been pushing for the safe resumption of work, and a white list has been established for workers in industrial companies, major construction projects and commercial enterprises.

"The entities can submit their personnel list and those who meet epidemic control requirements will get an electronic pass for returning to work," Zhao said.

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"But the entities must implement closed-loop management for their workers and enact a higher protection standard such as wearing an N95 mask and face shield for workers with higher exposure risk," he said.

Shanghai residents queue for nucleic acid test of COVID-19 at a site established on the square in front of Shanghai Museum, March 17, 2022. (GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY)

The closed-loop management also requires factories to provide separate accommodation for workers at the production lines from those who have to go out to reduce cross-infection risk.

Ye Junping, deputy director of the city agriculture commission, said 93 percent of the city's agricultural production has resumed and the production rate for vegetables was back to 98 percent, with more than 3,000 metric tons of green-leaf vegetables produced per day.

The seeds, fertilizer and farming machines for spring plowing have also been arranged and distributed to farmers, he said.

"Our next step is to help connect the vegetable and fruit farmers with big distributors and direct purchase from residents," Ye said.