Shanghai residents beg for food and medicine as authorities shut down city

Food and medicine shortages have left residents in China’s largest city desperate and frustrated as authorities struggle to gain control of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Shanghai, which has been forced to follow Beijing’s tough “no action” Covid strategy, is implemented two four-day locks on each side of the Huangpu River. But as the number of infectious Omicron variants increased rapidly, authorities restrictions extend to parts of the area east of Pudong, which includes the city’s financial district.

Screams for help raged on social media this weekend before being deleted by moderators, as the city’s case count passed Hong Kongwhich recorded the highest death rate in the world in March.

Social media residents said online grocery stores had run out of food while others complained they couldn’t buy their regular medicine. “Who can tell me how to get the medicine? I’m so hopeless. I want to leave Shanghai,” said one resident.

Some Shanghainese, who have been unable to leave their homes for more than two weeks due to pre-lockdown restrictions due to positive cases in their buildings, have relied on their grocery deliveries. government.

Parents also plead for help after being separated from their children if they or their children test positive. Zeng Qun, deputy director of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, said temporary guardians will be found for children who are not infected but are forced to stay home alone after their parents are taken to the isolation center. ly, state media reported.

EU states last week called on local authorities to stop separating children from their parents and ensure proper care for those facing non-Covid urgent medical problems.

To reflect how the country’s controversial removal policy has evolved, a taped conversation, allegedly between a Shanghai health official and a resident, has been widely shared. .

The official complained about politicized decision making and that the government was ignoring the recommendations of medical experts and was isolating asymptomatic patients. The Financial Times was unable to verify the authenticity of the recording.

In Hong Kong, isolating mild and asymptomatic cases has congested hospitals and exacerbated the strain on the healthcare system.

On Saturday, Sun Chunlan, China’s vice premier, visited Shanghai and urged the city to follow a zero-Covid strategy and expand isolation facilities.

“It is an arduous task and enormous challenge to combat the Omicron variant while maintaining the normal functioning of core functions in a megacity with a population of 25 million people,” said Sun.

Shanghai authorities on Sunday reported that 8,226 cases had been detected on Saturday, bringing the total to 51,180 cases since the outbreak began in early March.

In Hong Kong, chief executive Carrie Lam said that all residents will be required to take a Covid-19 rapid antigen test at home on April 8, 9 and 10 to try to detect cases. no symptoms.

Although the number of cases is much lower than those recorded in the rest of the world, the outbreak threatens Beijing’s efforts to eliminate the virus inside China and prevent the spread of the virus. economic disruption. Low vaccination rates among the very elderly, coupled with no previous exposure to the virus, mean the country is at a much higher risk of death if the outbreak is not contained.

Additional reporting by Xueqiao Wang in Shanghai and Gloria Li in Hong Kong

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