A few dozen stand in front of the entrance to their residence, some in pajamas, but all carefully masked. Opposite was a compact squad of men in white coveralls marked “Police” and armed with plexiglass shields. The next moment, the police advance against the demonstrators who are trying in vain to resist, and many of them are embarked. Two days earlier, residents had been ordered to vacate their homes in this Nashi International rental in east Shanghai. The authorities wanted to turn it into an isolation center for Covid-19 positive patients. “I’m 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 on their balcony, we can smell it on ours.” worries a 24-year-old local 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 per day, the authorities are trying to isolate more and more patients. An impetuous onslaught that is increasingly driving the 25 million inhabitants of the large Chinese metropolis to despair after more than two weeks of strict exit restrictions, with no end in sight.
Protests are mounting across the city. Some scream their desperation from their windows. Others try to arrest visiting officials. Dormitories collectively refuse to undergo daily testing. The calls for help are legion on social networks: problems with the food supply, but also access to supplies in the face of draconian procedures. Many simply express their incomprehension at a strict but poorly organized detention center and feel that they are being treated equally “Cattle”, repeatedly tested and stripped 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 containing a QR code and a number that will be used to tag her during her two-week stay. In the huge hall of the World Expo Exhibition Center, beds are lined up, separated by low partitions. No privacy. “The most difficult thing was the 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. For washing or rinsing, a basin had to be filled with drinking water dispensers. It was really very dirty. » For two weeks she washes with towels that she runs under her clothes to avoid stripping in public: men and women are not separated. “What is happening in Shanghai is unreal. People are starving or have no access to medical care, but we are not at war! This policy is really inhumane. »
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