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May 31, 2022

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Shanghai lockdown A-Z

A: asymptomatic

People who test positive for COVID-19 but show no symptoms. They may be in the early incubation period of the infection and could show symptoms later. Over 90 percent of infections during the recent resurgence in Shanghai were asymptomatic.

B: BA.2

Omicron BA.2 and BA.2.2 are the dominant COVID-19 sub-variants of Shanghai’s resurgence since March. They are highly contagious, difficult to conceal, and spread rapidly.

C: close contacts

People who have had unprotected close contact with confirmed, asymptomatic, or suspected cases within four days of the cases exhibiting symptoms or having a positive PCR test, as well as those who have been exposed to a potentially contaminated environment.

D : dabai

Medical workers, quarantine staff, or volunteers wearing white hazmat suits. The term originates from the Chinese nickname of Baymax, a health-care robot in the animated movie “Big Hero 6.” 

E: essential services

Delivery, medical and some taxi services continued to operate during the lockdown to ensure the supply of basic daily necessities and services.

F : fangcang

It means makeshift hospitals, mainly renovated from large public facilities such as stadiums or conference centers. Shanghai’s largest makeshift hospital at the National Exhibition and Convention Center remains operational with 50,000 beds. At the peak of this COVID-19 resurgence, more than 250,000 Shanghai residents were quarantined in a fangcang hospital. 

G: group-buying

Community group-buying has become a lifeline for many locked-down residents with logistics nearly paralyzed. A leader gathers the purchase demands of neighbors and asks the suppliers to transport the goods to the community in bulk.

H: health code

Residents must show or scan the green health code when entering or leaving their communities, as well as most public venues. The latest PCR test report is also displayed on the health code page for the convenience of inspection.

I: incubation

The Omicron variant has a shorter incubation period of four days on average compared with other coronavirus variants.

J: juweihui

In China, all communities have neighborhood committees, which act as the local government’s grassroots arm. These community-based organizations serve as coordinators for a variety of government policies. They are in charge of everything from enforcing lockdowns to registering households.

K: kits (antigen)

Antigen testing can complete virus detection in a non-laboratory environment quickly. It is an effective supplement to nucleic acid testing but is not a replacement.

L: lockdown

Since April 1, Shanghai has been under a full COVID-19 lockdown, with the majority of its 25 million residents staying at home to prevent the spread of the Omicron strain. It’s a lot longer than the one-week staggered shutdown that was originally planned.

M: mask

Wearing a mask correctly, keeping a safe social distance, and maintaining personal hygiene are the three key measures to prevent COVID-19.

N: neighbor

The COVID-19 lockdown has largely improved relationships among neighbors in Shanghai who might have barely known each other with the insulation of modern apartments.

O: online learning

Some 1.56 million students from kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools have shifted to online classes at home since March 12.

P : PCR test

In the early morning, lines for a throat swab snaking through residential compounds have been a common sight over the last two months. Polymerase chain reaction testing is the “golden criteria” for COVID-19 infection and is more accurate than antigen testing. It has become the weapon of choice in Shanghai’s battle against Omicron.

Q: quarantine

Confirmed, asymptomatic and suspected COVID-19 cases along with their close contacts will be put under central quarantine to cut off the transmission.

R: resumption

According to the Shanghai authorities, life and business will return to normal in Shanghai between June 1 and mid-to-late next month.

S: screening

Massive PCR screening is critical in halting the spread of the coronavirus. More than 9,900 PCR testing facilities have been set up across the city, allowing residents to take PCR tests within a 15-minute walk of their homes or workplaces.


Traditional Chinese medicine can help COVID-19 patients recover faster and relieve symptoms such as fevers. The curative effect of TCM has been proven during treatments for local patients.

U: united efforts

Thousands of medical personnel from across the country have rushed to Shanghai to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak. They conduct PCR test sampling across local communities and treat COVID-19 infections at local hospitals.

V: volunteer

Before the lockdown, they were just random people in the lift nodding at you, but now they coordinate your daily PCR testing, get your food supplies, and deliver them to your doorsteps. Volunteers have been instrumental in guaranteeing essentials and PCR screening management in the local communities.

W: welfare

Local governments are distributing free food and daily necessity packages to residents under lockdown. These packages mainly contain items such as meat, rice, noodles and condiments, as well as laundry detergent, toothpaste, soap and napkins.

X: xiexie

Chinese for “thank you,” and the most-used word during the lockdown. It would have been said to a volunteer, a doctor, or even a random neighbor who brought a can of coke for you. It is also said to those who assisted the city in weathering the storm. The Shanghai government spokeswoman Yin Xin said the city will never forget the warmth of other Chinese provinces and cities during the crisis. She expressed heartfelt gratitude and admiration for the heroes.

Y: youngster

It was heartbreaking for young COVID patients to be separated from their parents. Shanghai now permits parents to accompany their children during central quarantine, whether or not they have tested positive. They have to first sign an agreement.

Z: zero-COVID

The dynamic zero-COVID approach remains the best option for China in striking a balance between epidemic response and economic development. The principle doesn’t mean there will be zero infections. Rather, it means clearing infections at the community level in a dynamic and timely manner.


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