District of Minhang to be closed on Saturday for mass testing, sparking fears the lockdown could be prolonged if cases found

Shanghai will lock down a district of 2.7 million people on Saturday to conduct mass coronavirus testing,

 city authorities said, as the Chinese metropolis struggles to fully emerge from punishing curbs.

The city eased many restrictions last week, after confining most of its 25 million residents to their homes since March as China battled its worst Covid outbreak in two years.

But the lockdown was never fully lifted, with hundreds of thousands in China’s biggest city still restricted to their homes and multiple residential compounds put under fresh stay-home orders.

The south-western district of Minhang, home to 2.7 million people, will be placed under “closed management” on Saturday morning and all residents will be tested, district authorities said in a social media post on Thursday.

The statement also did not say what measures would be imposed if any district residents test positive.

“The closure will be lifted after samples have been collected,” they added, without giving a specific time or date.

Shanghai reported nine new local infections on Thursday – none in Minhang.

Under China’s stringent zero-Covid approach, all positive cases are isolated and close contacts – often including the entire building or community where they live – are made to quarantine.