Shanghai officials have reinforced the city-wide COVID lockdown, prolonging a misery that China’s capital Beijing had hoped to avoid by making mass testing a daily occurrence until late May.
Shanghai was redoubling its efforts to reduce the number of cases outside of the most severely restricted regions to zero by the second half of May.
Despite the fact that case counts have been declining, transportation restrictions are expected to stay in place for the rest of the month. Authorities in several areas issued letters requiring residents to return to their homes after allowing them to out for short walks or shopping.
Police in hazmat suits debates with people who were informed they needed to be confined after a neighbor tested positive in a video extensively circulated on Chinese social media.
The extended seclusion and dread of being transported to quarantine centers, which sometimes lack bathing and other basic amenities, has resulted in widespread dissatisfaction and even violence.
Last week, videos surfaced online showing scores of Quanta employees overcoming hazmat-suited security officers and vaulting over plant gates to avoid being stuck inside amid COVID rumors.
Macbook Pro workers storm through Covid barriers keeping them inside factory video
【疑不满「闭环生产」防疫太严】— 自由亚洲电台 (@RFA_Chinese) May 6, 2022
COVID limitations in Beijing, Shanghai, and dozens of other major Chinese cities are having a psychological impact on the country’s citizens, pulling down the world’s second-largest economy and affecting global supply chains and international trade.
The regulations contrast sharply with the rest of the globe, which is reducing or eliminating COVID restrictions to let people to live with the virus even as infections grow.
While many citizens willingly avoid going out, Beijing has closed gyms and entertainment facilities, outlawed dine-in services at restaurants, and blocked hundreds of bus lines and about 15% of its huge subway system.
People did not want to do anything that would expose them to infected people and force them into quarantine, therefore businesses that remained open were not seeing many customers.
Premier Li Keqiang committed to helping “as many employers as feasible” in a teleconference with other top officials on Saturday, according to state media.
In March, China’s unemployment rate reached 5.8%, its highest level since May 2020, with a record 6.0 percent in 31 large cities. The employment market has been severely battered since April’s full shutdown of Shanghai and harsher limits elsewhere.
Regardless of the sacrifices, Chinese officials remain steadfast in their determination to eradicate the coronavirus. The authorities threatened critics of the zero-COVID policy with legal punishment last week. Many cities are planning to make routine testing a part of everyday life in the hopes of detecting and isolating diseases early enough to avert major closures and movement restrictions. Residents in Beijing’s Chaoyang, Fangshan, and Fengtai districts, as well as tiny areas of other districts, queued up for another round of testing on Sunday. Two persons strolled through a vast Chaoyang property with loudspeakers blasting a constant message telling inhabitants to get examined.
Shanghai will continue to undertake daily screening after doing 63 million PCR tests and 126 million fast antigen testing last week, according to city officials. Thousands of permanent PCR testing sites are being built in Shanghai and other locations. Daily COVID cases in Beijing are in the dozens, far fewer than in Shanghai at this stage of the outbreak when infections were in the triple digits and climbing.
Shanghai’s cases declined for a ninth day on Sunday, but remained in the thousands, leading party and local authorities to warn against complacency.