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Shanghai’s lockdown shock

Authorities in Shanghai, China’s biggest city and financial hub, suddenly announced a full lockdown after the detection of the omicron variant of coronavirus. The strictness of Shanghai’s COVID-19 restrictions caught many residents in the city of 26 million people off-guard, sparking anger and panic-buying that emptied shelves and raised concerns about elderly people unable to access food. While public criticism of government policies is risky in China, some questioned the wisdom of Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping’s insistence on a zero-COVID policy, and one economist said the lockdowns could cost the economy at least $46 billion a month in lost output.