Top News

Shanghai is fencing off the areas affected by COVID, inciting new outrage

Shanghai, April 24 – Reuters

Pictures of workers in white emergency suits sealing the entrances to the apartment blocks and enclosing entire streets with roughly two-meter green fencing circled social networks, raising questions and complaints from residents.

“It’s so disrespectful of the rights of people inside, to use metal barriers to lock them in like pets,” said one user on the Weibo social media platform.

Register now and get FREE unlimited access at Reuters.com

Register

One video showed residents shouting from balconies at workers trying to build a fence before giving up and taking them away. Other videos showed people trying to tear down fences.

“Isn’t that a fire hazard?” another Weibo asked.

Many fences have been built around complexes designated as “closed areas” – buildings where at least one person has tested positive for COVID-19, meaning residents are prohibited from leaving their front doors.

It was not clear what had led the authorities to resort to fencing. A Saturday announcement from a local authority shared online states that it is introducing “hard quarantine” in some areas.

Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the announcement or all the images, but on Sunday saw a green fence on a street in downtown Shanghai.

This week, Reuters also saw police officers in protective suits patrolling the streets of Shanghai, setting up roadblocks and asking pedestrians to return home.

The Shanghai government has not responded to a request for comment.

China’s most populous city and most important economic center is battling the country’s largest COVID-19 epidemic with policies that force all positive cases into quarantine centers.

The closure, which lasted more than three weeks for many residents, caused frustration with access to food and medical care, lost wages, family separation and quarantine conditions.

Residents lined up at a temporary nucleic acid testing site during the coronavirus disease bulk test (COVID-19) after the outbreak in Beijing, China on April 23, 2022. REUTERS / Tingshu Wang

Read more

It has also dragged on the world’s second largest economy, factory production has been disrupted by snarling supply chains and the problems faced by closed residents returning to work. Read more

Shanghai conducts city-wide tests for COVID-19 daily and accelerates the transmission of positive cases to central facilities to eradicate virus transmission outside the quarantine area.

Last week, the authorities also relocated entire communities, including uninfected people, saying they needed to disinfect their homes, according to residents and social media contributions.

Many residents have turned to the Internet to express their disapproval and disapproval, using euphemisms and other means to combat government censors, who often remove critical content from the authorities.

“Do You Hear The People Sing?”

Shanghai reported 39 deaths on COVID-19 on April 23, compared to 12 the day before and by far the most during the current outbreak.

In the first weeks, she did not report any deaths, which raised doubts among the population about these numbers. Since then, it has reported 87 casualties, all in the last seven days.

The city had 19,657 new locally transmitted asymptomatic cases compared to 20,634 the day before and 1,401 symptomatic compared to 2,736.

There were a total of 280 out of 218 cases outside the quarantine area the previous day. Other quarantined cities began to ease restrictions as soon as cases reached zero.

China has largely managed to keep COVID-19 in check after the initial outbreak in Wuhan at the end of 2019, with a “dynamic zero” policy aimed at curbing chains of infection.

This approach has been challenged by the spread of the highly contagious but less deadly Omicron variant, which has forced cities to impose different levels of movement restrictions.

Across the country, China reported 20,285 new asymptomatic cases of coronavirus on Saturday, compared with 21,423 the day before, with 1,580 symptomatic cases compared with 2,988.

Beijing has seen 22 new cases of COVID-19 – all transmitted locally – compared to six a day earlier, prompting a number of gyms and extracurricular providers to suspend personal training.

Register now and get FREE unlimited access at Reuters.com

Register

Reports by Brenda Goh, Jacqueline Wong, Martin Pollard, Norihiko Shirouzu, David Stanway and editorial staff in Shanghai and Beijing; Edited by Tony Munroe and Christopher Cushing

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.