Shanghai blocks coronavirus-hit buildings from being fenced off, causing a new outcry

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SHANGHAI – Authorities in Shanghai, fighting the COVID-19 virus, set up mesh barriers outside residential buildings. This caused a renewed public outcry and forced the majority of Shanghai’s 25 million residents to remain home.
Pictures of white workers dressed in hazmat suits blocking access to the residential complex became viral via social media. The photos even closed off the entire street with a two-meter high green fence, prompting complaints and questions from residents.
A user of social media platform Weibo said that “it’s so disrespectful for the rights of people inside and enclosing them in metal barriers like cattle,”
One video shows residents shouting at workers as they set up the fence from their balconies. Then, they relent and take them away. Others showed people trying remove the fence.
“Isn’t that a fire hazard?” Another Weibo user said the same thing.
Most of the barriers were placed around the area that has at least one person tested positive for COVID-19.
Although it is not clear what caused authorities to use roadblocks, a notice posted online by a local authority Saturday stated that they were imposing a “hard quarantine on certain areas.”
The Shanghai government didn’t respond to our request for comment.
Shanghai, China’s biggest city and most important economic centre, is fighting the worst COVID-19-related outbreak. They have an elimination policy that involves testing, tracking and forcibly sending any positive cases to a central quarantine unit.
Many residents have been locked out for more than three weeks. This has led to frustration about food and medical services, lost income, family separations and quarantine conditions, as well as online venting attempts and scrutiny.
It also caused the collapse of the world’s second largest economy. Factory production was interrupted by supply chain disruptions. Residents were forced to return to work and faced difficulties.
To eliminate any spread of virus outside of the quarantine area, the city conducts daily COVID-19 testing.
According to social media posts and residents, authorities have taken entire communities to quarantine facilities in Shanghai, even those who are not infected, over the past week.
On April 23, 39 COVID-19-related deaths were reported in the city, an increase of 12 from the previous day. This is the highest number of cases during the current outbreak.
The first few weeks it reported no deaths, which fueled suspicions among residents about the numbers. Since then, it has reported 87 deaths in the span of seven days.
Shanghai saw 19,657 new locally transmitted cases of asymptomatic disease, compared to 20,634 one day earlier and 1,401 with symptoms compared with 2,736 that day.
The number of cases outside the quarantine area rose to 280, compared with 218 the previous day. Other cities previously under lockdown were able to lift restrictions once the required number of cases had been reached.
China’s “dynamic zero” policy, which aims to eliminate all chains of infection, was successful in stopping COVID-19 after the outbreak in Wuhan in late 2019.
This is challenged by the spread omicron variants that are less deadly but more contagious. As a result, cities have imposed varying levels of restrictions on movement.
China reported 20,285 new coronavirus cases nationwide on Saturday. This is compared to 21,423 cases a day earlier and 1,580 symptomatic patients compared to 2,988 the previous day.
Beijing had 22 cases of COVID-19, all localized — up from six the previous day. This prompted some gyms to suspend classes in person and other extracurricular providers to take action.

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