Facing an unprecedented level of backlash and widespread condemnation from the international press, Beijing said Sunday that it's hoping to have localized COVID outbreaks in Shanghai under control by Wednesday. This would allow them to scale back COVID lockdown measures...but then again, that's a big "if".
The report also noted that the lockdown in Shanghai (which has been the focal point of China's latest outbreak for weeks) has prompted locals to take to social media with tales of outrage and woe.
Here's more from Reuters:
The target will require officials to accelerate COVID testing and the transfer of positive cases to quarantine centres, according to a speech by a local Communist Party official dated Saturday, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
Ending community-level transmission has been a turning point for other Chinese localities that locked down, such as Shenzhen city which last month reopened public transport and let businesses go back to work shortly after achieving that target.
Shanghai has become the epicentre of China's largest outbreak since the virus was first identified in Wuhan in late 2019, and has recorded more than 320,000 COVID infections since early March when its surge began.
Some of the complaints have even made it to the mainstream western media, thanks to the cooperation of a Ukrainian woman living in Shanghai. According to WSJ, she was taken to a government quarantine center, where she spent nearly three weeks, and was forced to remain even after testing negative for the virus - twice.
She described conditions that sounded more like a prison - perhaps in some ways worse. For example, she wasn't allowed to shower for her entire stay.
Lights were kept on in the facility 24-7. She said the experience made her feel like a "COVID criminal". Shanghai has built more than 100 makeshift hospitals with a total capacity of more than 160,000 beds, and the Ukrainian woman was situated in the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Center complex.
"The light is killing me—it’s my main enemy here," she said in an interview, the day before her release.
Despite being crammed in with thousands of strangers, and left without showers or much sanitation, she said there was at least one advantage to her situation when compared to that of her boyfriend, who remained free: at least she was getting three warm, decent meals per day at the facility, while her boyfriend was constantly worried about his shrinking food stockpile.