Shanghai was tightening its Covid-19 lockdown for what it hoped would be the final week of its battle with the virus before it could gradually begin to ease restrictions, while Beijing kept fighting its much smaller but persistent outbreak.
China's commercial hub of 25 million hoped to come out of its painful six-week-old lockdown later this month. Authorities on Saturday were hoping one last round of tightening would eradicate the last infections of the country's worst Covid outbreak of the pandemic.
Many residents of the nation's most populous city, allowed to leave their housing compounds about a week ago for short walks or quick grocery trips, have more recently received notices to stay indoors for a three-day "silent" period.
Many buildings were told overnight that restriction would be extended until Friday. Going silent usually means residents cannot leave home and, in some cases, it can mean no deliveries.
Hundreds of millions in dozens of Chinese cities live under Covid curbs of various degrees. The measures are hurting consumption and manufacturing in the world's second-biggest economy, and disrupting global trade and supply chains.
Some analysts expect the economy to shrink this quarter. Officials have promised more stimulus measures. China will offer subsidies, tax breaks and easier loans to boost prospects for college graduates, the cabinet said on Friday, as a record 10.76 million are set to finish college and enter the workforce this year in a weaker economy.