Shanghai fences off areas affected by COVID-19 as death toll rises, Chinese authorities warn of ‘bleak’ situation

Shanghai: Like China continues to fight an epidemic of COVID-19[feminine], Shanghai authorities have now erected fences outside residential buildings. Despite weeks of lockdown, the bustling city reported 39 COVID-19 deaths on Sunday – its highest daily toll. Meanwhile, 22 other infections have been reported in beijingwith the capital closing a city center housing complex as officials warned the situation was “grim and complex”.

Images of workers in white hazmat suits sealing off the entrance to apartment buildings and using tall green fencing (about two meters) to shut off entire streets have since gone viral on social media, sparking further outcry. The city of 25 million is struggling to provide fresh food to people confined to their homes, while patients have reported difficulty accessing regular medical care.

The cosmopolitan business hub, which is also China’s largest city, has been almost completely locked down since the start of the month. This in turn has led to supply chain issues and a gradual increase in spending, which is putting increasing pressure on multinational companies to move production out of mainland China.

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As the lockdown continues, Chinese censors have sprung up to suppress an online backlash against the prolonged lockdown in Shanghai, including the swift censorship of a viral video by residents describing their daily challenges eating and accessing essential services . A fire at a residential building on Saturday night sparked fear and criticism on social media, as many resort exits were generally sealed off as part of COVID-19 curbs.

While Shanghai has been reporting thousands of cases a day for the past few weeks, its first death from the outbreak was announced on April 18. The toll has now risen to 87, with health officials saying the average age of death in the Shanghai outbreak was 81. Officials have warned of the particular risks COVID-19 poses for the country’s elderly and largely unvaccinated population.

Five of those who died had been vaccinated, although authorities said the deaths were of people with serious underlying illnesses who were in critical condition. Doubts have also been raised about the effectiveness of Chinese vaccines, and Beijing has not imported any foreign-made vaccines.

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