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Millions of Shanghai residents have been in lockdown for nearly two months as authorities continue to try to completely eradicate the coronavirus. In the next few days, quarantine rules will tighten even more. Local residents will be prohibited from leaving their homes and using commercial food delivery, and it will be possible to go to the hospital only with the consent of the local Communist Party body.
If one person on the landing is found to have Covid-19, other neighbors will most likely have to self-isolate in special state institutions even if they have a negative test for coronavirus (such rules apply in some areas of the city). Those who have visited such centers complain about unsanitary conditions, lack of showers and congestion.
On Wednesday, authorities in Shanghai said that the number of cases of Covid-19 had been reduced to zero in at least half of the city’s districts, but there was no talk of lifting restrictions yet.
“We must be aware that the current situation is unstable, the risk of the return of Covid-19 still exists,” said Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission.
According to the notices of the local committees of the ruling Communist Party, only state couriers will be allowed to deliver food in the city for the next three days. Previously, local residents have repeatedly complained about the inability to order food and the long waiting time for delivery.
In addition, it will now be possible to go to the hospital only with the consent of the local committee of the Communist Party (with the exception of emergency cases).
The BBC is aware of situations where residents had to wait a long time for an ambulance to arrive – some were forced to use private vehicles to get to the hospital.
Recently, a growing number of videos have surfaced on Chinese social media showing healthcare workers dressed in white overalls disinfecting apartments.
As the Shanghai Daily writes, this usually only applies to those apartments whose residents have been diagnosed with coronavirus. However, when it comes to old residential areas, where families often have to share a kitchen and a toilet, such premises will be completely disinfected.
In recent days, residents of some areas where strict restrictions were not previously imposed have reported the appearance of high fences around residential complexes.
Despite tough restrictions, Shanghai officials say residents of half of the city’s districts are free to leave their homes.
The tougher measures in Shanghai came just days after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his commitment to a zero-COVID strategy.
WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the zero-incidence covid policy. “We don’t think it’s justified given the dynamics of the spread of the virus,” Tedros said during a news conference on Tuesday.
Later, the Chinese authorities restricted access to the video with the statement of the head of WHO in the Chinese social network Weibo.
According to official figures, about 90% of the population in China is fully vaccinated. However, only 38% of China’s most vulnerable people over the age of 60 received three doses of the vaccine.