The land of origin of the coronavirus is now haunted by Covid-19, as cases of infection rise in China’s Shanghai, leading to such mismanagement by the communist government that has caused a food crisis in the industrial city. The one-party government is showing no signs of easing the strict lockdown it has imposed on the city of 26 million.
Residents and workers in Shanghai are running out of food, water and other necessities, with many said to be on the brink of starvation, with videos going viral on social media, showing the people of Shanghai complaining of lack of food and medical care. Debarred from leaving their houses, the people have taken to their balconies to scream, sing and lend voice to their anger, fears and suffering.
As Shanghai residents gave vent to their frustrations from their balconies and windows, the communist government reacted to the protests by saying, “Control your soul’s desire for freedom.”
Arguably the most corporatised city of China bears the look of a zombie apocalypse dystopia, with authorities deploying drones that broadcast the message: “Control the soul’s desire for freedom and do not open the window to sing. This behaviour has the risk of spreading the epidemic.”
The phrase “control the soul’s desire for freedom” refers to a contentious comment from a Chinese MP during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 when the communist government had imposed stringent lockdown measures in Wuhan, the ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak.
In pockets of Shanghai, the tense situation spiralled out of control and riots broke out. Many people raised slogans and cornered officials wearing hazmat suits, before looting a supermarket, videos showed.
Given the infamous iron curtain of any communist regime, these videos have taken the shape of quasi-journalistic reports of public outrage in China.
The whole of Shanghai has been locked down since 1 April. The eastern part of the city has seen the curfew since 28 March. The communist government in China has sent in 2,000 military medics and 10,000 medical workers from other provinces to help in the fight against the Covid wave, fuelled by the Omicron variant.
China is unable to cope with the strain of testing and treatment, which is affecting healthcare professionals too. A video on Twitter shows patients rushing a doctor out of an isolation facility after he collapsed while treating the ill.
Shanghai reported 25,000 Covid-19 infections today, yet another highest daily peak in the worst Covid outbreak in China in two years. In order to stop the spread of the disease, the city has been placed under a strict “dynamic zero” Covid strategy .
Under the desperate scheme, all 26 million inhabitants of Shanghai were tested. Anyone infected had to be taken from their homes and quarantined. All close contacts of the infected are being taken away and isolated. The rest are debarred from leaving their homes or apartment buildings.
China had planned four-day closures of districts while residents were to be tested, but it turned out to be an indefinite shutdown across Shanghai after the number of cases spiked. Many inhabitants are struggling to arrange for food deliveries to their homes during the lockdown.
Toddlers and infants have sometimes been taken from their parents to be quarantined separately, although the Shanghai government is now starting to offer family quarantines for children with special needs. City officials literally cut a sorry face last week, promising to improve food supplies, which hasn’t happened so far.