China President Xi Jinping said that China must not relax COVID control and prevention measures as the country continues to battle a surge driven by the Omicron variant. 

Reports suggest that patience is wearing thin among locals in the financial hub of Shanghai as the authorities continue to underline on zero Covid tolerance – a policy that is said to have helped the country keep cases under a check soon after the start of the pandemic.

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“Prevention and control work cannot be relaxed,” Xi was quoted as saying in a Bloomberg report as he visited the island province of Hainan. The spike in COVID-19 cases has emerged as a challenge for the Chinese leader who is expected to seek a third term in the autumn of 2022 during a Communist Party congress.

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Earlier, vice premier Sun Chunlan was quoted as saying in reports that China would be clinging to its “dynamic zero-COVID” strategy “without hesitation or wavering.”

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Millions of people have been locked in the city of Shanghai, triggering frustration among masses. Visuals shared on social media have shown people shouting from their houses.

According to Bloomberg, Premier Li Keqiang has repeatedly warned of risks to economic growth, and the central bank is expected to cut its key policy interest rate for the second time this year on Friday.