- BBC News World
Shanghai residents say they are running out of food amid the biggest Covid outbreak in the Chinese city yet.
The inhabitants are confined to their homes and they are prohibited from going out even for essential reasonslike shopping for groceries.
Nearly 20,000 new cases were reported in China’s largest city on Thursday, almost a new record.
Officials admit the city is facing “difficulties” but say they are trying to work it out.
But public anger is also being fueled by other drastic measures, such as separate children from their parents if they test positive.
Shanghai officials responded by allowing parents who were also infected to accompany their children to isolation centers.
However, according to a report by the Reuters agency, there are still complaints about children separated from parents who did not test positive for covid.
The city on Wednesday began another round of mandatory mass testing to identify and isolate each case.
Shanghai residents who test positive cannot isolate themselves in their homes, even if their conditions are mild or asymptomatic.
They have to go to mandatory quarantine facilities that critics say are overcrowded and have substandard conditions.
Why is there a food shortage?
When ómicron first appeared in Shanghai a month ago, the city quarantined only certain buildings or groups of dwellings.
Faced with the spread of the virus, authorities implemented a staggered closure last week in which the city was divided in two and each half had separate measures.
The closure was extended indefinitely on Monday and now covers the entire city of 25 million population.
The strict rules mean that most people have to ask for food and water and wait for the government to deliver vegetables, meat and eggs.
But the extension of the closure abrumeither delivery servicesgrocery store websites, and even the statewide distribution of supplies.
Much of the distribution and delivery staff are also in closed areas, leading to an overall decrease in delivery capacity.
Locals in some areas of the city say they are completely isolated.
“Resolve the issue of insufficient delivery capacity as soon as possible,” wrote a user on the Weibo social network in response to the video message from the city authorities.
Another person wrote that it was the “first time” in his life that he was “hungry.”
Residents also expressed other concerns about the price increase and how they survive older or less tech-savvy residents.
City officials acknowledged food difficulties on Wednesday, saying Shanghai had sufficient supplies of rice, noodles, grains, oil and meat, but there were delays in their distribution.
“It is true that there are some difficulties in ensuring the supply of daily necessities,” said Liu Min, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce.
Shanghai Vice Mayor Chen Tong added on Thursday that the city would try to reopen some wholesale markets and grocery storesand would allow more delivery personnel to exit closed areas.
“We have been holding meetings overnight to try to find solutions,” Chen said.
China is one of the last remaining nations committed to eradicating covid, in contrast to most of the world that is trying to live with the virus.
The country has successfully rolled out full lockdowns before, endured by millions of people in cities like Xi’an and Wuhan, but Shanghai is its largest city and the spread of cases this time is much higher than in previous outbreaks.
As one of China’s economic powerhouses, the Shanghai lockdown is also fueling concerns about the impact on the country and the world economy.
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