Cases in Shanghai fall, but restrictions in China tighten

Chinese authorities are tightening coronavirus restrictions in Shanghai and Beijing, and they are heeding a message from China’s top leader to double its COVID-19 zero strategy.

In Shanghai, where residents have been closed since April 1, private food delivery services have been suspended in some areas, despite cases dropping to a six-week low. Some residents said they would not leave their homes and that the government would help deliver groceries.

In Beijing, where the daily number of confirmed cases rose to 74 on Monday, officials announced that schools would be closed indefinitely, and many office workers in the city were instructed to work from home. Other cities around China continue to pursue various forms of partial or complete closures.

Even though China’s daily number was the lowest since mid-March, the austerity measures came despite a total of 3,426 new cases reported nationwide on Monday. But local officials remain highly vigilant after China’s supreme leader Xi Jinping urged the country to stick to its strategy to combat the virus and not allow criticism of its approach. Now in its own coronavirus zero strategy, China has succeeded in keeping infections and deaths low to assert that its centralized governance approach prioritizes saving lives over democracies with more coronavirus deaths.

On Tuesday, there were other signs that city life had come to a standstill in Shanghai, where two subway lines that had been operating while the entire city was shut down continued to operate. discontinued operation.

City residents also reported that they were told they could be sent to a government quarantine facility if anyone in the building became infected with the coronavirus. Previously, only people living on the same floor as someone who tested positive had to go to government facilities.

The rigid policy is bubbled up online, sparking more complaints and protests on a smaller scale, with accounts of residents being harassed by plague workers.

In a message last week, Xi Jinping urged officials not to tolerate criticism.

Videos of neighborhood protests and conflicts between residents and health workers in Shanghai were posted on Chinese social media and quickly deleted. The opposing voices are quickly silenced. The economist, warning of the economic consequences, has frozen his public social media accounts. A post by a law professor that forcing a person who tested positive to go to a hospital is against the law has been deleted. His social media accounts have also been suspended.

Residents have expressed fear of being sent to a government facility where conditions could be dire. Videos of police and medical workers pulling people out of their apartments went viral online before they were censored.

In a widely shared video confirmed by The New York Times, a man in a hazmat suit approaches a resident’s window, points a finger at her, and demands that she speak to the police at the front of the house.

Women have been shown to try to converse with men through the front door, but several of them break the door and force them in. The woman repeatedly asks officers to prove that she tested positive before taking her to an isolation area. facility. She says she has violated coronavirus prevention policies and has been ordered to be transferred to an isolation facility by a disease prevention agency. As the exchange heats up, she takes out her cell phone and calls the police.

One of the men replies, “If you call the police, I’ll keep coming.”

Isabel Chencontribution reporting; Claire Pooh contributed to the research.

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