Shanghai says its lockdown will only be lifted in batches

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Shanghai said on Friday it would lift its lockdown in batches once virus transmission outside quarantined areas was stamped out, as it announced a new round of citywide testing as it pursued zero community infections.

Shanghai stepped up COVID testing and control in a new campaign involving "nine major" actions, as local authorities said 11 people infected with COVID-19 died on Thursday, up from eight deaths a day earlier.

Meanwhile, Shanghai reported 15,698 new local asymptomatic coronavirus cases for April 21, down from 15,861 a day earlier.

In a question and answer posted on its official WeChat account, the Shanghai government said the city's epidemic was showing a "positive trend" and that life in the city could return to normal soon as long as the policy was adhered to.

"Our goal is to achieve community zero-COVID as soon as possible," the government said. "This is an important indication that we win this major, hard battle against the epidemic… so that we can restore normal production and life order."

In a separate statement issued late on Thursday, Shanghai announced a new round of "nine major" actions, that would include more COVID testing for all its residents from Friday.

The government said that as of April 20, 403 out of 666 prioritised companies, or 60%, were operating, stressing that strict virus prevention and control measures are required to resume work.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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