“China’s senior adviser on the country’s Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] response has sought to justify the prolonged lockdown and control measures in Shanghai, citing its large population and widespread community transmission,” the SCMP reported on April 29.

Chinese Communist Party officials in charge of Shanghai’s government ordered all 25 million-plus of the city’s residents to obey stay-at-home orders on April 5. The measure was designed to contain Shanghai’s latest epidemic of the Chinese coronavirus and has remained in place since then. An April 27 report by China’s state-run Global Times seemed to indicate Shanghai’s government was moving toward lifting the city’s harsh movement restrictions, though Liang’s remarks on April 29 appeared to thwart the prospect.

“After the lockdown dragged into its fifth week, Shanghai has recorded a drop in the numbers of cases for consecutive days. The city on Wednesday [April 27] decided to take what epidemiologists said was ‘a major step toward lifting the lockdown’ to ease restrictions in areas where COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] infections were stamped outside the quarantined areas,” the Global Times reported.

A separate article published by the SCMP on April 29 — hours before the newspaper published comments by Liang indicating the Communist Party plans to keep Shanghai’s lockdown in place for the foreseeable future — likewise suggested the city’s movement restrictions might soon end.

Health workers in protective gear walk out from a blocked off area after spraying disinfectant in Shanghai’s Huangpu district on January 27, 2021. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“New Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] cases in Shanghai’s low-risk unguarded zones fell to the lowest level since a phased lockdown was imposed one month ago, in a fresh sign that the mainland’s financial capital could soon ease restrictions and ramp up business activity,” the SCMP observed.

The newspaper cited the Shanghai government’s most recent Chinese coronavirus statistics at the time, which revealed the following:

New cases reported on Friday [April 29] numbered 15,032, 41 per cent more than a day earlier. Among 5,487 symptomatic patients, 5,062 were Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] carriers who were classified as asymptomatic cases in the previous days. Therefore the actual number of newly added infections stood at 9,770, an 8 per cent drop from the 10,622 reported on Thursday [April 28].

Shanghai’s total Chinese coronavirus caseload from March 1 to April 29 tallied 554,000. Municipal officials recorded 52 new deaths from the virus on April 28, raising the total of such deaths since March 1 to 337.