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Secret exchanges in the middle of the night in Shanghai on blockade day

A few nights ago, Zhang Hongyan – resident of Baoshan, Shanghai, and neighbors often met to exchange essential items. They choose the time of night to avoid detection by the authorities.

In response to the most severe outbreak ever, Shanghai asked all 25 million people not to leave their homes except to go out for testing.

Anyone who violates will be severely punished.

But for people like Zhang, the lack of essentials makes her “take a risk”.

During a chat on Wechat on the evening of April 7, Zhang offered to exchange 10 eggs for some fruit. One of Zhang’s neighbors agreed, saying they had apples available to trade.

Secret exchanges in the middle of the night in Shanghai on blockade - 1

Shanghai people find ways to exchange goods in the middle of the epidemic season. (Photo: Reuters)

“During the day is not very convenient. I will leave the eggs at the gate of your building, hurry up and get them”Zhang texted a neighbor named Anan.

“Okay, I’ll take and leave the apple. It’s best not to meet to reduce the risk of infection”Anan replied.

According to SCMPafter 2 weeks of “sealing”, Shanghai seems to be returning to the stage of a cashless economy to exchange food and necessities.

While most households receive support from the government, this somewhat outdated method of trading is back and popular in residential areas as many people complain about supply shortages and shortages. Delivery service does not meet demand.

People find ways to exchange everything from garlic to toilet paper.

This method of exchange is said to continue to be maintained as the city government has not announced the time of lifting the blockade order.

One of the headaches for Shanghai authorities at the moment is food supply due to a shortage of manpower in the transportation sector due to strict travel restrictions.

On April 9, Shanghai Vice Mayor Sun Ming acknowledged the city’s shortcomings in the way of fighting the epidemic.

“A lot of our work is still not good enough, and still hasn’t lived up to everyone’s expectations. We’ll do our best to improve.”Ms. Sun said, emphasizing that the authorities will try their best to provide enough necessities for the people.

Cici Chen, a resident of Tung Giang district, said the exchange of goods has become an important part of her daily life and that of other residents in the building she lives in.

“Initially, some people give things away for free, but the recipients want to give something in return to show their gratitude. Gradually, more participants chose this exchange, and it became our new way of survival.” Chen said.

Chen was given baby formula and diapers by his neighbors. Now she was trying to find eggs and milk to give them back.

Chen mostly only exchanges necessities with people in the same building because it is very difficult to exchange goods between two different buildings. The Shanghai government previously emphasized that the blockade meant that people had to stay at home until restrictions were lifted.

As a result, people are unable to receive goods from the residential gate or even take out the trash. Instead, designated volunteers or cluster security guards will help them with these tasks.

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