New COVID-19 restrictions surprise Shanghai residents
New COVID-19 restrictions surprise Shanghai residents

New COVID-19 restrictions surprise Shanghai residents

Authorities in Shanghai have tightened restrictions on its 26 million inhabitants despite a steady decline in new COVID-19 infections.

Residents of some neighborhoods have been informed in writing that they are not allowed to leave their homes or receive deliveries as part of a “quiet period” that would last for at least three days. The new restrictions surprised residents after a short period in which they were allowed to move around in their neighborhoods.

There have also been reports on Chinese social media that residents are forcibly removed from their homes and placed in hotels or quarantine facilities if their neighbors are tested positive for coronavirus, as well as anecdotes about clean-up crews in full protective suits entering apartments to disinfect them.

An official in Shanghai confirmed the move in an interview with The Associated Press and said the homes of people in older communities with shared bathrooms and kitchens will be disinfected.

The actions prompted open letters posted on social media on Sunday by Tong Zhiwei, a law professor at Shanghai’s East China University of Political Science and Law, and Liu Dali, a corporate lawyer in Shanghai, to question the legality of such practices.

Nearly all of Shanghai’s residents have been under strict orders for the past six weeks as Chinese financial center officials struggle to curb a mass outbreak of new COVID-19 cases, mainly driven by a highly contagious omicron variant. The shutdown has led to angry complaints about the lack of fresh food and medicine throughout China’s largest city.

Officials reported about 3,000 new cases Monday, well below a peak of 26,000 released in mid-April.

Elsewhere in China, Beijing further tightened the COVID-19 curbs on residents on Monday with more mass tests and road closures as the country continues its uncompromising fight against the virus.

Residents of the city’s worst-hit areas were told to work from home, while several roads, complexes and parks were blocked off as the capital of 22 million struggled with the worst eruption since 2020.

China has doubled its strict “zero-COVID” policy, even though it seriously disrupts everyday life and brings economic activity to an end.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse.

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