Shanghai has released more than 11,000 recovered Covid-19 patients as infection numbers continued to climb. Wu Qianyu, a senior official with the city’s public health commission, said on Sunday that the patients would be put under home quarantine and no further controls should be imposed on them. Shanghai wasn’t ready for Omicron, respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan says “Relevant authorities in the areas they live in have to be alerted that they are allowed to go home,” Wu said. “At the same time, the officials are required to monitor their health [during the quarantine].” The health commission did not say how many of the recovered patients had symptoms. Shanghai reported 24,944 new infections on Sunday, setting a record for the ninth consecutive day. Of those, 1,006 were symptomatic, slightly down from 1,015 on Saturday. Shanghai, China’s commercial and financial capital, has seen more than 179,000 cases since the current outbreak, driven by the Omicron variant, began on March 1. About 5,400 patients were reported to have mild symptoms while the others were asymptomatic. Sunday was the first day since April 3 that no citywide mass testing was conducted. “The tidal wave has yet to peak, and worries are that the citywide lockdown will last for another few weeks, which may cripple the local economy,” said Wang Feng, chairman of Shanghai-based financial service group Ye Lang Capital. “The business community is keeping a close eye on how the government will lift the lockdown.” Vice-mayor Zong Ming said on Saturday that the city would embark on a zoning strategy to gradually lift the lockdown but did not give a clear time frame for implementing the policy. People in areas classified as “precautionary zones” will be able to move about and certain essential businesses in these areas will be allowed to reopen, with limitations on the number of customers. But there was no easing in the lockdown in any part of the city on Sunday. Thousands of businesses in Shanghai, from small restaurants to big-name multinational firms, have been forced to halt production. Shanghai set an economic growth target of 5.5 per cent for 2022, but analysts expect it will miss that goal because of the Covid-19 controls. Locked down Shanghai residents risk punishment, sneaking out to barter for food At present, the Yangshan deep water port can use just over half of its handling capacity while flights to and from the city’s two airports are mostly grounded. On April 5, the city authorities reversed an earlier plan to end an eight-day, two-phase shutdown of Pudong and Puxi, the eastern and western sides of the Huangpu River, leaving the whole city locked down. Since April 3, all 25 million residents have undergone six rounds of Covid-19 testing in what the municipality described as a necessary campaign to spot infections and cut the transmission chain. The central government insists it will stick to its “dynamic zero-Covid” policy and Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan has been in Shanghai since April 2 to oversee the anti-pandemic work, warning local officials against complacency. The Shanghai Communist Party Committee has ordered party cadres and members to join the battle against the outbreak and promote “positive energy” by supporting the policy and curbing public criticism. Nationwide, 26,355 cases were reported on Sunday, including 820 in the northeastern province of Jilin . In Guangzhou, the capital of the southern province of Guangdong, local governments ordered all 18 million residents to be tested, after finding two confirmed infections and one asymptomatic case on Friday. In Shanghai, the local authorities are stepping up efforts to turn the National Exhibition and Convention Centre, the venue of the annual China International Import Expo, into a temporary hospital with 50,000 beds. Brutal killing of pet corgi by pandemic worker angers China Shanghai already had about 77,000 beds for Covid-19 cases after converting stadiums, exhibition halls and parks into temporary hospitals to quarantine those with mild or no symptoms. Neighbouring cities are also on alert to stop the disease spreading further in the Yangtze River Delta, one of the country’s most important economic areas. Nearby cities such as Hangzhou and Yangzhou have reserved thousands of beds for accommodating infected patients and their close contacts from Shanghai to support the city’s antivirus measures.