Shanghai chases karaoke COVID cluster as cases rise

STORY: Millions in Shanghai have been queuing up for a third day of compulsory mass COVID-19 testing, as cases begin to rise.

Authorities in several Chinese cities are attempting to track infections linked to an illegal karaoke lounge and an eatery which offered karaoke services without a license.

Local government officials around the country are under pressure to prevent the virus from spreading.

Looming large are worries about growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

In Shanghai, 50 compounds and venues have been locked down, taking the total to 81.

Shanghai has only recently emerged from a two-month lockdown, causing global supply chain disruption and mental stress on the city’s 25 million residents.

Yet some locals, like Louis Ma, say they are less concerned than before.

"I have no worries because I think in the past two months, I believe that policymakers, government, including residents, have learned from experience and learned how to deal with an epidemic like this better. So I'm not worried that there will be another round of the epidemic."

Although China’s caseload remains modest by global standards - 338 new cases on Wednesday (July 6) - the fast-spreading Omicron variant is proving to be a key test of China's strategy to eliminate all COVID transmission.

China's uncompromising "zero-COVID" policy increasingly contrasts with the attitude of the rest of the world which is trying to live with the disease.

But the government maintains the policy is saving lives and any “temporary” economic costs are worth bearing.