Shanghai lockdown tests limits of China’s dynamic zero Covid-19 policy
By Zhuang Pinghui
12 April 2022
Soon after midnight on Thursday, a group of 7,500 medical staff boarded buses in Jiangsu province, on a round trip to Shanghai around 300km (186 miles) away, a total journey time of 12 hours.
They arrived at the stricken metropolis in the early hours, donned protection suits and spent the day swabbing the throats of hundreds of thousands of residents for Covid-19, before starting the long drive home that evening.
Similar journeys were made by more than 30,000 other medical staff from at least 15 provinces to help the city carry out mass testing of its 25 million people, currently enduring the largest effort to control the virus since it was first reported in Wuhan two years ago.
But while the Wuhan lockdown won widespread support from a population eager to contain the outbreak, there has been growing discontent since Shanghai adopted similar measures on March 28.
There have been harrowing reports of people screaming from their homes over the prolonged confinement, as well as food shortages, unmet medical needs and pets bludgeoned to death by zealous pandemic workers.
While Shanghai’s outbreak shows no sign of subsiding, there are also concerns for another Covid-19 hotspot, 2,000km away in the northern province of Jilin. Its capital Changchun has been in lockdown since March 11, when 160 local infections were reported.