Shanghai residents clash with police over houses used to isolate Covid patients

Residents at a housing complex Shanghai clashed with health authorities on Thursday, after they tried to block the requisition of government-mandated buildings to house Covid-19 patients amid a coronavirus outbreak already the city was closed for weeks.

The rare outcry, the footage of which was broadcast live and then widely circulated on social media before being removed by censors, comes amid growing public frustration over the lock in shanghai, the financial center of China. The city of 26 million people is the center of China’s worst outbreak since the beginning of the pandemicin a major test of the country’s “Dynamic Zero-Covid” strategy.

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Footage of the incident in a residential area in Shanghai’s Pudong district shows people wearing white hazmat suits labeled “police” wrestling residents to the ground and leading several people towards a truck White. People could be heard wailing as some shouted, “Bring them back.”

“Police are hitting people,” screams could be heard from several people.

Zhangjiang Group, a state-owned development company that owns the complex, said in a statement that five buildings have been converted into isolation facilities for people with confirmed Covid-19 infections and plans to requisition nine more buildings.

It said the claims forced 39 tenants to abruptly move to other parts of the property, but they were compensated.

“On the afternoon of April 14, when our company organized the erection of an isolation fence, some tenants obstructed the construction site, the relevant departments handled it on the spot,” this group said. “Now the situation has calmed down.”

Shanghai authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Workers disinfect the floor of a makeshift hospital at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai on Thursday.
Workers disinfect the floor of a makeshift hospital at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai on Thursday.Ding Ting / Xinhua via AP

Residents have expressed concern that the presence of Covid-19 patients could expose them to infection. Under China’s strict anti-Covid policies, even people without symptoms are quarantined in centralized facilities, where many have complained of poor conditions.

“I think it’s becoming more and more clear that the cost of keeping a dynamic zero-Covid – not just the huge costs to businesses and people’s livelihoods, but also the deaths caused by unhealthy conditions Covid causes and ongoing mental distress and anxiety – beyond the interests of Donald Low, a professor at the Public Policy Institute of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said.

“It is clearly inexplicable, and the fact that people in Shanghai fear zero-Covid restrictions more than Covid itself is proof of that,” he added.

China’s zero-tolerance approach has kept Covid infection and death rates much lower than in the United States and other countries, and officials fear that an outbreak is left unchecked. could overwhelm the country’s fragile health care system. Chinese leader Xi Jinping said this week that China could not relax its anti-Covid measures and must follow a principle of “people first and life first”.

On Friday, Shanghai reported nearly 20,000 asymptomatic cases and a record 3,200 symptomatic cases. It has recorded more than 300,000 cases since outbreak in March but no deaths.

Critics say the outbreak, and the resulting lockdowns, are paying the price in other ways. When local health official Qian Wenxiong died this week, there were rumors that he took his own life because of the pressure to face the outbreak of disease control.

In a statement on Thursday, the Hongkou County Health Commission confirmed that Qian passed away on Tuesday at the age of 55. It did not share a cause of death.

Door lock restrictions are blamed for other deaths in Shanghai, including the case of a nurse who had to leave her hospital during an asthma attack and the 98-year-old mother of one home. The famous Chinese economist died while waiting for treatment for kidney disease because her Covid test results have not come back yet.

An online initiative to record all deaths related to the restrictions reached about 130 entries on Friday.

There are also ongoing complaints about the difficulty of getting daily essentials under the lockdown, leaving residents confined to their residences and sometimes even their apartments.

Although the government implements sporadic deliveries, people are largely dependent on online orders and overloaded delivery drivers. In many neighborhoods, volunteers are working together to coordinate and distribute bulk orders of food and medicine.

Lucia Shen, a documentary producer, says grocery shopping for her community of about 1,500 has become a full-time job.

“My first priority is really helping the elderly in our community, because these are the people who might be excluded from all these new technologies,” she told NBC News on Friday. . “Sometimes they don’t know how to order on their phone.”

Shen said she went through “up and down” during the lockdown.

“There were emotional moments for sure, but I think I was able to move on to focus on the practical side of things,” she said. “I think the real emotional part comes from the uncertainty, because we don’t know when this lockdown will end.”

Janis Mackey Frayer, Leying Tang, Miyasha Nulimaimaiti, Reuters and Related press contribute.

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