The announcement quickly made the rounds of social networks, between mockery and questions. Excluding quarantine establishments, the city of Shanghai has indicated that it has overcome the coronavirus, even if the majority of its 25 million inhabitants remain confined. Certain grotesque elements of this ultra-strict policy, made of wearing a mask for dogs or PCR tests on langoustines, shake the canvas. Difficulties in accessing fresh produce and non-Covid health care have also aroused strong dissatisfaction, and in some cases even clashes with the authorities.
Placed under full containment since the beginning of April, Shanghai was the city most affected by the worst epidemic outbreak that China has experienced since the start of the pandemic. “All of Shanghai’s 16 districts have reached zero Covid in society,” Zhao Dandan, vice director of municipal health services, announced on Tuesday.
Towards a deconfinement in stages
Clearly, the approximately 1,000 new cases detected in the last 24 hours have all been detected in quarantine establishments and not in the general population. The authorities had announced on Sunday a reopening “in stages” of businesses from this week, without however specifying the extent. According to the town hall, only 3.8 million inhabitants are still placed in a harsh form of confinement, such as the ban on leaving their apartment or residential complex.
A figure that arouses the disbelief of many Internet users, convinced that many more people remain in reality confined. “Are the authorities talking about the Shanghai of a parallel universe? “Writes a user of the social network Weibo, in tune with the general tone of the comments.
Beijing on the brink of generalized confinement
In some areas, however, restrictions have actually been eased. Chinese media released footage Tuesday of a crowd of people queuing outside one of Shanghai’s main railway stations as trains from the city resumed service.
Several airlines resumed domestic flights from Shanghai this week, after suspending them during the outbreak. However, residents can only leave the metropolis with special authorization and several Covid tests, while China does not seem determined to relax its Covid control policy, despite a significant economic cost.
Thus in Beijing, restaurants, bars, gymnasiums, parks or even sports halls are already closed and telework imposed, in addition to daily tests for part of the 22 million inhabitants of the capital, while only a few dozen daily cases are listed.
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