Residents of Shanghai are so frustrated with the latest COVID lockdown they are screaming from the windows of their apartment blocks, according to several videos now going viral on social media.
China’s largest city has been under a draconian lockdown since April 5, when Beijing ordered a complete shutdown as part of its “zero COVID” policy.
The city’s 25 million residents have had to take six COVID-19 tests since April 3 and are prohibited from leaving their homes—even for food. The government has been dropping rations and people are using delivery services, though even those services are curtailed due to the restrictions.
Those who test positive—including children—are forcibly carted away to quarantine hospitals, but those who test negative are still not allowed to leave their homes. Viral videos show people in physical tussles with security personnel and screaming that they are out of food.
Videos of desperate people screaming from their high-rise apartments were followed up by even eerier clips of a drone hovering overhead beaming out a robotic voice telling residents, “Please comply with COVID restrictions. Control your soul’s desire for freedom. Do not open the window or sing.”
Rebecca Kanthor, a journalist in Shanghai, told NPR that some people only had a few hours notice before the lockdown began and had no time to buy food supplies. “People are very frustrated,” she said. “Not everybody is going outside and yelling and being publicly upset in that way but people are definitely on social media... definitely voicing their frustration because Shanghai is a really big city, it has this reputation for being a very progressive city and until this outbreak nobody really thought that Shanghai would lock down in this way.”
On Sunday, 24,944 new infections were recorded, of which 1,006 were symptomatic. “The tidal wave has yet to peak, and worries are that the citywide lockdown will last for another few weeks, which may cripple the local economy,” Wang Feng, chairman of Shanghai-based financial services group Ye Lang Capital told South China Post.
The Shanghai government has admitted there have been glitches in delivering supplies, but insist there is enough rice, noodles, grain and oil. “It is true there are some difficulties in ensuring the supply of daily necessities,” Liu Min, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce told BBC.
People in other areas are now hoarding supplies out of fear China, which is one of the only countries in the world that has not decided to co-exist with COVID, will extend the lockdowns.