The harsh confinement of Shanghai is testing the mettle of its inhabitants. Six weeks locked up in their homes or workplaces, fenced buildings and developments, food delivered by the authorities, problems receiving medical care, daily screenings and always the fear of being transferred to an isolation center, some of which with very precarious and unhealthy. The exasperation among the 26 million inhabitants of the largest city in China is palpable on the networks, where they share videos and messages related to the inconveniences and disturbances registered during the confinement. Content that quickly succumbs to censorship.
"I feel like I'm living on Mars. It's another world," lamented the Spanish journalist Víctor Escribano on his Twitter profile, a channel through which he has been narrating his experience and desperation about a country he set foot on for the first time six years ago. A few days ago they detected some positives in his building and paranoia took over the neighbors. "That if it is better to cover the ventilation ducts and the drains, that we organize ourselves to take turns, to open the windows," writes a message.
The country's economic engine decreed a four-day preventive lockdown in early April, which has lasted to date, in hopes of stopping the worst covid outbreak to hit the country since the initial wave in early 2020. The Commission The Shanghai Health Department says it is winning the battle against the coronavirus: infections fell to 1,487 on Wednesday, after having exceeded 25,000 at the end of April, and half of the city's 16 districts without registering new infections in the last three. days.
Despite having reached this important milestone, the authorities stated that now is not the time to relax restrictions. Residential buildings have been locked down again so that online orders cannot be received (the only way to stock up on basic goods) and neighbors of those who have tested positive are being sent to the dreaded isolation centers. They do it almost daily.
This is the biggest fear for Escribano and his partner, worried about what could happen to their cats (there have been some cases confirmed by the pet removal authorities whose owners had covid). Videos have even circulated on the networks showing police officers forcing the closest neighbors of those infected to go to these facilities despite not having tested positive.
"After the detection of four new infections over the weekend, they say (in the WeChat group of neighbors) that they are not only going to take the positive ones, but that the authorities are calling several floors," Escribano reported yesterday. Anguish seized him and his partner, also a journalist. "Everything was panic and hysteria, and we, who are already touched after almost two months of preventive confinement, also fell," he confessed.
Local authorities have been ambiguous on this issue and the official press described the information as "speculation". Finally, the health authorities have spoken out this Wednesday to ensure that the measure only affects residents who share a bathroom or kitchen, especially in poor neighborhoods. Residents who live on the same floor or in apartments directly above or below where the positive case lives are considered secondary contacts, who can self-quarantine in their homes if conditions allow.
The disinfection of the homes of positive cases is another of the most commented topics. There are people who have complained that the chemicals have damaged personal items. An Argentine couple, in which the woman had tested positive, explained to the BBC that they covered all the paintings with plastic. Finally, the operation to evict them was stopped and they were able to quarantine at home.
"They sealed our door with a magnetic strip. For a week now, we can't go out to the corridor or the balcony. We can't get food or take out the garbage. Almost every day, a fumigation team in white suits and plastic hoods comes to disinfect the building," say Lucila Carzoglio and Salvador Marinaro, who are writers. "The fear is no longer of the disease, but of the measures. What they decide to do with your body," they lament.
A lawyer and director of a company specialized in data compliance Jared T Nelson explained that his neighborhood had been sealed off and shared an image of a street blocked off with fences. Similar images have been shared on social media, with entrances to buildings blocked with barriers. Neighbors have been alerted to the danger posed for fire emergencies.