Happiness and freedom in Shanghai after more than two months of imprisonment

  • Health WHO criticizes China’s Kovid Zero strategy for the first time

Minutes after midnight, when several workers raised the metal fence that sealed access to a housing estate in Shanghai’s financial center Pudong district, a stampede broke out to exit. Hundreds of neighbors desperate for freedom ran inexplicably, jumping from side to side as if celebrating Real Madrid’s goal in the Champions League final, but avoiding close physical contact, The joy was contagious, but only at a distance. Some took off their masks for a few seconds to breathe in the fresh air. Others spread their arms and legs like animals that haven’t been out of the cage for a long time.

There were neighbors in all the happy crowd who used to drag big suitcases and huano Like someone is following them. Many go to airports or train stations first for transportation that will take them away from the city, lest they become confined again.

esa process de malletas, which had spread throughout the city during Wednesday morning, had already been experienced in Wuhan in April 2020. It was holy Wednesday when the epicenter of the pandemic opened its doors after 76 days under strict lockdown. After performing penance, thousands of Chinese trapped in Wuhan returned to their homes. The same is happening in Shanghai now.

China’s most populous city began a staggering blockade on March 28 that lasted only nine days, but lasted 65. Some 2.5 million people have been locked in their homes for more than two months. Some residents even made it through Wuhan’s 76-day lockdown because their neighborhoods had positive Covid cases and were released before the general lockdown.

The same happened with the Italian Alessio. “In my case, it’s been 79 days at home with my wife. We got out on the street only when they took us to do a PCR,” says the video game programmer who first answers the call on Wednesday . Cycle through the city at night.

“Mentally it has been very difficult. My wife, when she told us that we could go on the street on June 1, she was terrified of freedom. And in the WeChat group—Chinese WhatsApp—that is with our neighbors, Many of those who have fallen severe depression, He expressed the same panic”, says the Italian.

A survey of more than 1,000 Shanghai residents in mid-April suggested that 40% of those surveyed were on the verge of depression. On Baidu, the Chinese version of Google, searches for the phrase “psychological counseling” have risen more than 250% compared to the same period last month, the data-humanism company that specializes in surveys said.

despair and exhaustion

Many stories shared on Chinese social media during lockdown weary officers who have been struggling to contain it since the beginning of the outbreak. He expressed dismay and exhaustion at continuing mass testing in residential communities and moving everyone who tested positive to mega-quarantine centres. A very heavy burden that also claimed a life: Qian Wenxiong, a 55-year-old local public health official, committed suicide in mid-April. Another infamous suicide was that of a local newspaper reporter, Tong Weijing (30), in early May. She was suffering from severe depression.

These conditions only sparked public outcry as weeks of imprisonment passed. The boredom with confinement was accompanied by controversial images of children separated from their parents as they tested positive, food shortages or news such as the death of a nurse from an asthma attack, who had to be denied admission to her own hospital because of restrictions. was denied. Or the patient who had chemotherapy in the hospital and died during quarantine. or sick grandparents who are not treated in medical centers because they live in communities where a positive case has been reported. To combat this, it didn’t help that when neighbors downloaded their complaints on Chinese Twitter Weibo, they broadcast at almost the same speed that cybersecurity systems later sent them. censored

slow return to normal

After two months, more than 300 deaths and more than 600,000 positives in a city that before March had reported barely 400 infections in the entire pandemic, Shanghai is beginning to lack confidence in slowly returning to normalcy. Has been. Starting this Wednesday, more than 90% of residents will be able to move freely. but About 800,000 people will remain closed Because they live in high-risk areas, that is, those who have reported one case in the last 14 days.

City officials said public transport had resumed as normal, although residents would need to have a negative PCR test result within 72 hours to reach the metro or bus. There are around 15,000 large-scale testing centers scattered around the city. Shopping centers and department stores will remain open, but it will not be possible to exceed 75% of maximum capacity.

The 14 new positive cities reported on Wednesday have gone from a peak of nearly 28,000 daily infections. that inspired me to try restart the financial center locomotive The most important of the second world power, whose economy, according to analysis by investment banks such as JPMorgan, will contract this quarter as a result of the shutdown in Shanghai, which has disrupted production.

Many businesses in the city, from factories to financial services firms, were operating under “closed-loop management” for a month, meaning companies could open as long as workers lived on the premises. The same thing happened in supermarkets such as Carrefour in the Xoojing neighborhood, where 43 employees were locked inside since April to be able to fulfill thousands of online orders from neighbors.

The irrepressible national policy of COVID zero hit hard against a city that was one of the few strongholds in China that ended up under a more permissive strategy towards restrictions and shutdowns. While large metropolises in the West sparked epidemics long ago, Shanghai’s closure suffocated a large city that is essential to China’s economic might.

,it’s been a wreck, Many businesses have closed and their owners are the ones you see now that their suitcases run out of town fast, lest they close again,” says Jonathan Wren, an economist who works at his headquarters. Works for advisory firm FTI Consulting. It is not going to open as soon as many expect. Restaurants are still closed and only serve those at home. For now there is no estimate of opening of cinema, bar or gym, And some companies have decided that their employees will continue to work from home. National tourists cannot come because they will have to quarantine for a week and there is a lot of fear because as infections rise again, many neighborhoods will be closed again. So it will reset very slowly,” Ren says.

Noise, dust and traffic have returned to Shanghai’s main thoroughfares. As people celebrate the new independence after the harsh imprisonment, we will have to wait a little longer to see the havoc it has left on the pockets and heads of 2.5 crore people.

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