Monday May 09, 2022

Coronavirus-hit Shanghai, Beijing tell residents to avoid social contacts

Coronavirus-hit Shanghai, Beijing tell residents to avoid social contacts

On Monday, Shanghai reported a drop in new cases for the 10th straight day.

China's two biggest cities tightened COVID-19 curbs on their residents on Monday, raising new frustration and even questions about the legality of its uncompromising battle with the virus.

As authorities wrestle with China's worst COVID outbreaks since the epidemic began, authorities in its most populous city of Shanghai have launched a new push to end infections outside quarantine zones by late May, people familiar with the matter said.


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While there has been no official announcement, over the weekend some residents in at least four of its 16 districts received notices saying they were no longer able to leave their homes or receive deliveries as part of the effort to drive community infections down to zero.

"Go home, go home!" a woman shouted through a megaphone at residents mingling below apartment towers at one of those compounds on Sunday.

Two residents in a fifth district, Yangpu, said they were notified of similar measures and that grocers in their neighbourhoods would be shutting as part of the effort.

Simmering public anger was inflamed by online accounts of authorities forcing neighbours of positive cases into centralised quarantine and demanding that they hand over the keys to their homes to be disinfected, which legal experts denounced as unlawful.

Coronavirus-hit Shanghai, Beijing tell residents to avoid social contacts
Two women wear protective suits as they walk on a street near the closed Xinfadi market in Beijing. AFP

One video showed police picking a lock after a resident refused to open a door.

In another instance, a voice recording of a call circulated on the internet of a woman arguing with officials demanding to spray disinfectant in her home even though she had tested negative.

In Beijing, residents of its worst-hit areas were told to work from home while more roads, compounds and parks were sealed off on Monday as the city of 22 million grappled with its worst outbreak since 2020.

More bus routes were suspended as more rounds of testing were conducted in a handful of districts, including Chaoyang and Fangshan, both of which were described by municipal authorities as the "priority of priorities" in the city's counter-epidemic work.

Beijing reported on Monday 49 new locally transmitted cases for May 8, taking its tally of infections since April 22 to more than 760.

Beijing has been hoping to avoid the weeks of lockdowns that Shanghai has endured but the growing number of residential buildings under lockdown orders is unnerving residents.




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