Despite Beijing’s low number of coronavirus cases – 150 were diagnosed in the latest wave, according to Sky News – the city has implemented significant restrictions. All schools in the Chinese capital have been closed since Friday, and for how long is unknown. It is also not known whether the institutions, or part of them, will allow the exams to return to their classes. Students account for more than 30 of the total cases, and clusters of infection are associated with six schools and two kindergartens. The activities of shopping centres, cinemas and gyms were also suspended. Reuters points out that authorities have also stepped up their efforts to monitor the contact network of people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The city of 21 million has already organized three mass tests this week. The authorities are trying to track down and isolate the infected as soon as possible. There was a sign on one of the residential areas: “Entrance only. No exit”. The actions of the authorities prompted people to lay out food and other products. Residents flocked to the shops, some buying vegetables, meat, pasta and toilet paper.
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Foreigners flee Shanghai
In Shanghai, residents were locked up at their homes a month ago and all schools have been teaching online since March. As a result, some people were out of food and basic supplies, and hospitals were unable to deal with other emergencies, Sky News reports.
Reuters points out that dozens of foreign residents are fleeing the city because of Shanghai’s covid lockdown. The news agency points out that while no official travel statistics were available in recent weeks, pet transport companies, brokers and law firms are seeing a sharp rise in the number of travel applications. Also on internet forums people are exchanging advice on how to get out of the city despite the lockdown restrictions.
According to official data, 164,000 people lived in Shanghai last year. foreigners. By comparison, in 2018, i.e. before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, 215,000. people had a work visa. Foreigner Jennifer Li admitted in an interview with Reuters that she plans to leave the city, despite having spent 11 years there. Until the lockdown, I really didn’t feel like an authoritarian government because we were more or less free to do what we wanted. I’ve never really lived under oppression, she said. “The COVID case has made us realize that human life and mental health are not important to this government,” she added.
Reuters also reported that some foreigners have made huge efforts to get to the airport — from paying $500 for a taxi, which usually costs $30, to fighting employees blocking departures, to getting stuck at the airport. after a sudden flight cancellation. One of the people described how she and her five-month-old daughter slept on the airport floor for almost a week. “After all I’ve been through, just let me go back to my country,” she said.
China aims for “zero COVID” strategy
Despite the authorities’ promises to reduce the human and economic costs of the zero-COVID strategy, leaders ruled out the possibility of lifting restrictions and trying to live with the virus. “The strict restrictions in China seem surreal in many parts of the world where people have chosen to live with the virus,” Reuters writes. It is estimated that 46 cities are currently fully or partially closed, meaning around 343 million people will be affected by the lockdown.
The increasingly discernible signs of frustration among citizens may soon become uncomfortable for the ruling Communist Party in China, especially as President Xi Jinping is expected to secure his third term as leader this fall.