Shanghai officials over the next few days will further restrict access to food and hospitals in the city, the most severe phase of its extended lockdown yet. BBC News has the story.
Commercial food deliveries are not allowed and access to hospitals for all but emergencies must first be approved. Neighbours of COVID-19 cases and others living close by are also being forced into government quarantine facilities. Shanghai is now in its seventh week of city-wide restrictions.
Confirmed cases have fallen significantly from their peak, but authorities have not yet been able to hit the target of what they call “societal zero”, where no cases are reported outside of quarantine facilities.
Despite the tougher measures, Shanghai officials insist that people living in half the city’s districts are now free to leave their homes and walk around.
State media has shown propaganda videos of departing medical workers visiting city landmarks together and taking photographs.
Official notices from local committees of the ruling Communist Party, seen by the BBC, detail several restrictions imposed under what officials call “silent periods” for the next three days. These include only permitting Government food deliveries, not allowing residents to “step out” of their front doors and requiring approval from the committee for anyone other than emergency cases to access hospitals…
The tightened measures come just days after China’s president Xi Jinping re-iterated his commitment to the controversial ‘Zero-Covid’ strategy. In a paper published in the health journal the Lancet earlier this week, senior Chinese health officials said the lockdown would “buy time to vaccinate more people”.
Their comments come after the head of the World Health Organisation called China’s Zero-Covid strategy unsustainable.
“When we talk about Zero-Covid, we don’t think that it’s sustainable, considering the behaviour of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday at a news conference.
The clip was widely shared on Chinese social media before being blocked by censors. More than two years after Covid-19 first emerged here officials figures show around 90% of the population nationwide has been vaccinated. But only 38% of the more vulnerable – those over 60 – in Shanghai have the full protection [sic] of three vaccinations.