STORY: Shanghai has set a target to stop the spread of COVID-19 outside of quarantined areas by Wednesday (April 20), two sources close with the matter said.
This would allow the city to further ease its lockdown and start returning to normal life as public frustrations grow.
The city’s new target of "zero-COVID at the community level" by April 20 was communicated in a speech officially dated Saturday (April 16), to the city's Communist Party and organizations 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.
The target will require officials to accelerate COVID testing and the transfer of positive cases to quarantine centers.
Ending community-level transmission has been a turning point for other Chinese localities that locked down, such as Shenzhen city which last month reopened public transport and let businesses go back to work shortly after achieving that target.
A speech by the party secretary of the city's Baoshan district described it as an order that had come as the city's situation reached a "critical moment," with growing public anxiety and food supply pressures.
The Shanghai government and China's State Council did not immediately respond to requests for comment.