There are a few dozen standing in front of the entrance to their residence, some in pajamas, but all conscientiously masked. Opposite, a compact troop of men in white overalls marked “Police” and armed with Plexiglas shields. The next moment, the police advance on the protesters who try in vain to resist, and many of them are embarked. Two days earlier, residents had been ordered to leave their apartments in this Nashi International rental residence in eastern Shanghai. The authorities wanted to turn it into an isolation center for Covid-19 positive patients. “I am disappointed and angry. We were not told why our residence had been chosen. Is it normal to put infected people in the same community as healthy people? If they smoke from their balcony, we can smell it from ours,” worries a 24-year-old resident who was one of the protesters and prefers to remain anonymous. According to her, ten people were arrested.
Shanghai already has 160,000 places to isolate Covid patients for two to three weeks. But with more than 20,000 new infections a day, authorities are trying to isolate more and more patients. A headlong rush that increasingly exasperates the 25 million inhabitants of the great Chinese metropolis, after more than two weeks of strict confinement of which there is no end in sight.
Across the city, protests are on the rise. Some shout their despair from their windows. Others try to arrest visiting officials. Residences collectively refuse to submit to daily tests. On social networks, calls for help are legion: problems of food supply, but also of access to care in the face of draconian procedures. Many simply express their incomprehension in the face of a strict but poorly organized confinement, and have the feeling of being treated like ” livestock “, repeatedly tested and deprived of any control over their existence.
Leona Cheng, 22, ended up in one of the isolation centers in late March, 48 hours after testing positive. Arriving in the middle of the night, she was given a plastic bracelet marked with a QR code and a number, by which she will be designated during the two weeks of her stay. In the huge hall of the World Expo Exhibition Center, beds have been lined up, separated by low partitions. No privacy. “The hardest thing was hygiene, says the young woman on the phone, her voice still hoarse. There were no showers, not even running water at the sinks or in the toilets. To wash or to flush, it was necessary to fill a basin with drinking water distributors. It was really very dirty. » For two weeks, she washes with wipes that she passes under her clothes to avoid stripping in public: men and women are not separated. “What is happening in Shanghai is unreal. People are hungry or have no access to medical care, yet we are not at war! This policy is truly inhumane. »
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