Why all of Shanghai was closed: the inhumane costs

With the new rise in Covid cases, the authorities have opted for a very strict policy of confinement in the Chinese capital. But the lack of clarity about how long and the difficulty many families have in purchasing basic necessities has prompted residents to take to the streets in an unprecedented series of protests.

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An entire city closed, 26 million people forced to stay indoors indefinitely. This is what happens in Shanghai, the economic and financial heart of China. So far there have been measures of restrictions limited to East and West, but after the recent increase in Covid cases, it was decided to confine the entire city. The latest available data speaks of 13,146 new positives recorded in 24 hours: this is the highest level after the peak of the first pandemic wave two years ago when the coronavirus spread around the world from Wuhan. Even if the numbers are not high by some international standards, the Chinese authorities have nonetheless decided to respond accordingly. The situation in Shanghai is worrisome, as a new suspected subtype of the Omicron variant has been identified.

Avoid the new city of Wuhan, but at ‘inhumane’ costs

In an effort to stop the epidemic with the aim of avoiding the new Wuhan, after launching several mass tests, at the end of March, the Shanghai authorities “selectively” closed some neighborhoods for what should have been 48 hours: the eastern district had to remain closed from March 28 to April 1, Western Region from April 1 to April 5. But the soft approach clearly did not help: confinement would continue, and all other areas of the metropolis would also be included. It is not yet clear how long. However, the higher transmissibility and milder nature of the Omicron variant led us to question whether the current strategy is sustainable in the long term. “At the moment, the prevention and control of the Shanghai epidemic is in the most difficult and most dangerous stage,” local health commission official Wu Qianyu told the BBC. “We must follow the rules without hesitation, without hesitation.”

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Protests from Shanghai residents

But not all residents agree. It should be assumed that China’s confinement rules state that if a positive is detected in an apartment complex, where thousands of people can live, all residents must stay at home for a week, those living in the same building as appropriate. Positive, two weeks. Many reported how this “inhumane” shutdown made it impossible for even the supply of basic food items. Difficulties linked to the unknown about the length of imprisonment prompted the residents to organize unprecedented public protests. One of the most important is definitely the residents of Jiangnan Xinyuan Palace in Minhang District: “We want to eat, we want to work, we want to have the right to know, we want the committee to come to solve our problem. Problems we want freedom.” Not only Shanghai, other similar protests have been reported in Chinese cities such as Shenzhen and Jilin.

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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