Shanghai police have erected metal barriers in multiple districts to block small streets and entrances to apartment complexes.while the regimen China tightens its strict “zero COVID” approach.
In the city’s financial district, Pudong, the barriers, either thin metal sheets or mesh fences, were put up in several neighborhoods under a directive from the local government, according to Caixin, a Chinese business media outlet. Buildings where positive cases have been found sealed off their main entrances, with a small opening for pandemic prevention workers to pass through.
China reported 21,796 new community-transmitted COVID-19 infections on Sunday, with the vast majority being asymptomatic cases in Shanghai. Across the country, many cities and provinces have imposed some version of a lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
The latest outbreak, fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant, has spread across the country, but has been particularly large in Shanghai. The city, a financial hub of 25 million residents, has seen hundreds of thousands of cases but fewer than 100 deaths since the outbreak began nearly two months ago.
An AP examination of the death toll found that despite a history of narrow criteria for linking deaths to particular diseases, especially COVID-19, authorities have changed the way they count positive cases, leading to a margin maneuvering in how they arrive at a final kill count. The result is almost certainly an undercount of the true death toll.
On social media, people posted videos of the new barriers that were put up on Saturday, expressing their anger at the measures.
In one video, verified by the AP, residents leaving a building in Shanghai’s Xuhui district broke through the mesh barricade at its main entrance and went to find the security guard they believed was responsible for setting it up.
Shanghai is using a tiered system in which neighborhoods are divided into three categories based on their risk of transmission. those in the first category are facing the strictest COVID-19 controls and were the main target of the new intensified measures. In the third category, some buildings allow people to leave their homes and visit public areas.
In Shanghai, authorities reported 39 new deaths by COVID-19, raising the official death toll at 4,725 as of end of Saturdaythe National Health Commission said on Sunday.
The city’s lockdown has drawn global attention for its strict approach and dangerous consequences.. Many city residents have had a hard time getting groceries, resorting to bartering and buying in bulk. Others have not been able to get adequate medical attention in time, due to strict controls on movement.
On Friday, Chinese netizens shared a six-minute video called “April Voices” documenting some of the most challenging public moments the city has experienced in the nearly month-long lockdown. One part features audio from residents of a Shanghai community who protested on April 8, shouting, “Send us food! Send us food! Send us food!” in unison
The video covered WeChat timelines before it was abruptly removed by censors on Saturday.
Chinese authorities have continued to say that the “zero COVID” strategy is the best way forward given low vaccination rates in people over 60, and that the omicron would result in many deaths and serious illness if the country ended its strict approach.
(with information from AP)