Millions of people are in lockdown in the Chinese metropolis, and corona infections are reaching record levels. And yet the government is now loosening up in some areas.
The lives of the 26 million people in Shanghai have been idle since the end of March: they are only allowed to leave their homes with special permission – or for one of the regular Corona mass tests. Reported infection numbers hit a new daily record on Sunday with more than 25,000 new cases. Most of those affected do not show any symptoms, according to the information.
Compared to American or European cities, they are small. In China, with the government’s controversial zero Covid strategy, however, it is the largest outbreak since Wuhan, from where the pandemic took its course.
Nevertheless, the lockdown is now to be relaxed in some areas from Monday. The residential areas were divided into three risk categories to give residents in the areas where no positive cases occurred within two weeks the opportunity to resume “appropriate activities” in their neighborhoods.
Shanghai wants “dynamic” corona management
Those living in the prevention areas could move around in their neighborhoods, but would have to abide by isolation and distance rules and could be sealed off again in the event of new infections, said deputy secretary-general of the city government, Gu Honghui. Shanghai will dynamically adjust the new system, Gu said, pledging greater efforts to minimize the impact of the restrictions on China’s most populous city of 26 million people.
Critics see this as a risk: “I think the Shanghai government has a secret plan to infect the entire Chinese people,” wrote a user of the Chinese short message service Weibo. Others felt the authorities had no choice. “I think the Shanghai government is admitting that they can’t keep lockdown while making sure their citizens don’t starve,” wrote another Weibo user.
Censorship of criticism of corona measures
More and more citizens are therefore expressing concerns about the food supply, and in some cases also about access to medical goods. Videos circulating online show residents loudly arguing with security guards because they need food.
The Chinese government and state-controlled media are increasingly responding to complaints about the corona prevention measures with censorship. In Shanghai in particular, there had been complaints about bottlenecks in the supply of food and medicine.