China is a country known for its restrictive tendencies, especially in light of recent days. China is a country that seemingly has taken out all the stops to put the Covid19 pandemic in the past. Lately, China has applied experimental procedures in locking down the country’s biggest city. The lockdown involved mass testing and had what many would describe as ‘cut-throat’ rules. China enacted a zero-tolerance law, separating infected babies from their otherwise healthy parents, keeping those infected with minor symptoms secluded and removed from their houses, and locking its people inside their homes with little to no access to food.
While past lockdowns had supply networks and food supplies keep up reasonably well, whether, through commercial services or government-provided shipments, the Shanghai lockdown continues to be disastrous. With bare supermarket shelves, insufficient government deliveries, and inundated commercial services, purchasing necessitates online requires getting up before dawn and hoping to be one of the lucky few who gets through before orders get suspended.
On Monday, China furthered its people’s contempt by extending the lockdown in their failed attempt to maintain their new wave of infections with the new Covid XE variant. Those who took to Chinese social media to express their need for essential goods like medication for family members are now reaching out to the public in hopes of swapping tips online about making vegetables last longer or learning how to prepare food that’s past its sell-by date.
On Wednesday, the city began another round of mandatory mass testing to identify and isolate every case. Those infected get sent to one of many compulsory quarantine facilities, which critics say have become crowded and have sub-par conditions, conditions that report shortages of food and water, and fighting among residents. City officials noted that residents who tested positive could not self-isolate in their homes even if their conditions were mild or asymptomatic.
City officials acknowledged the food shortages Wednesday, saying Shanghai had enough rice, noodles, grain, oil, and meat supplies, but there were delays in distributing them. They admitted the city is currently facing “difficulties” but say they are trying to improve this. As conditions worsen, civilians broadcast their deep animosity towards their government via social media. In the last-ditch effort to ease the tension getting thrown at the Chinese government due to their failure of a lockdown, Shanghai officials announced allowing uninfected parents to accompany their children to isolation centers. This announcement acts as a mere band-aid as the food scarcity grows severe enough that people are starting to forage, some of who have gotten food poisoning.
According to Reuters, the number of infected on Thursday was another near-record breaking high, said that nearly 20,000 cases got reported in Shanghai. The city has also had seemingly deployed drones to emphasize their strict Covid lockdown guidelines to residents under quarantine. Videos of the drones hovering in the sky have circulated on Twitter and the Chinese social media platform, Weibo. The drone is seen flying in the sky in the video, broadcasting the message: “Residents of Jiuting. During the pandemic, we request that you strictly abide by COVID-19 restrictions and related guidelines. Control your soul’s desire for freedom. Do not open the window or sing. This increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
China has faced criticism from Western countries, questioning how helpful lockdowns are to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, they continue to pave their path of strict rules, food shortages, and now talking drones.