By Víctor Escribano
Shanghai, China, Apr 20 (EFE).- Residents in Shanghai have started taking to social media to complain about China’s stringent zero-Covid-19 policy, which has plunged the financial hotspot into a strict lockdown that has started to weigh down the economy.
Many Shanghai residents ask themselves the same question: when will the lockdown end? Judging by vice premier Sun Chunlan’s latest statements, there is no end in sight to restrictions in Shanghai as it grapples with its worst Covid-19 outbreak since the pandemic began.
“The battle against the virus in Shanghai is at a critical moment, so no let-up is allowed,” Sun was quoted as saying in a Shanghai government statement, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.
As despair and exhaustion continues to spread among the east coast city’s residents, authorities have not confirmed when the lockdown, which started on March 28, will end.
Given China’s ”dynamic zero-Covid strategy”, many are wondering how infection rates have continued to rise when so many residents have been confined to their homes.
Some people have blamed incessant rounds of mass testing on the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus, which is the only occasion large groups of people have gathered in recent weeks.
Some residents have opted to ignore the government’s instructions to visit testing facilities and have instead demanded health workers do door-to-door testing to avoid contact between neighbors.
Others have reported testing fatigue. In some condos, tests are carried out daily, sometimes at odd hours, and some families have refused to put their children at risk amid reports infected minors are being separated from their parents to quarantine.
Critics of the testing system have also advocated the use of rapid antigen tests, which can be taken at home without the need to go to saturated PCR testing facilities.
CENSORSHIP IN OVERDRIVE
As discontent spreads, censors have been kept busy scrapping a growing number of angry posts shared by critics on social media to denounce the government’s handling of the outbreak.
A recording of a clash between a German resident and an official representative of an apartment complex was shared widely on WeChat before the evidence of the scuffle was scrubbed from the social network by censors.
In the recording, the resident refused to go to an isolation center because he had tested positive 12 days ago and had not been tested since. A message that states the post “violates the regulations” now stands in the recording’s place.
In a rare glimpse into the widespread fury over China’s Covid policies, an article titled: “The patience of the people of Shanghai has reached its limit” went viral on the same network but was also deleted.
Unverified footage has been doing the rounds on social media showing the toll the lockdown is having on the mental health of the megacity’s residents. In one video, a person confined in a quarantine center appears to threaten to jump out of a window.EFE