Sparking fresh public outcry about strict lockdown rules, Shanghai authorities have erected fences to block off small streets and entrances to apartment complexes.
White hazmat suit-clad workers have sealed – either with thin metal sheets or mesh fences – several neighbourhoods of the city’s financial district Pudong under a local government directive, as per reports.
Main entrances of buildings where positive cases have been found were sealed up, with a small opening for pandemic prevention workers to pass through.
In a video shared by a resident on a social media platform, residents can be seen shouting from balconies at workers trying to set up fencing before relenting and taking it away. Other videos showed people trying to pull fences down.
In one video, according to news agency AP, residents leaving a building in Shanghai’s Xuhui district broke down the mesh fence barricade at their front entrance and went looking for the security guard they believed to be responsible for putting it up.
“This is so disrespectful of the rights of the people inside, using metal barriers to enclose them like domestic animals,” said one user on social media platform Weibo.
“Isn’t this a fire hazard?” asked another Weibo user.
This comes after a notice dated Saturday shared online said that the authorities were imposing a “hard quarantine” in some areas.
Covid situation in Shanghai
China reported 21,796 new community-transmitted Covid-19 infections on Sunday, with the vast majority being asymptomatic cases in Shanghai.
Across the country, many cities and provinces have enforced some version of a lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
The latest outbreak, driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, has spread nationwide but has been particularly large in Shanghai.
The city, a financial hub with 25 million residents, has counted hundreds of thousands of cases but fewer than 100 deaths since the outbreak began nearly two months ago.
Covid curbs in Shanghai
Shanghai is using a tiered system in which neighbourhoods are divided into three categories based on their risk of transmission.
Those in the first category face the strictest Covid-19 controls and were the main target of the new heightened measures. In the third category, some buildings allow people to leave their homes and visit public areas.
The city’s lockdown has drawn global attention for its strict approach and sometimes dangerous consequences.
Many residents in the city have had difficulties getting groceries, resorting to bartering and bulk buying. Others have been unable to get adequate medical attention in time, owing to the strict controls on movement.
Chinese authorities have continued to say that the “zero-Covid” strategy is the best way forward given low vaccination rates in people over age 60, and that Omicron would result in many deaths and severe illnesses if the country ended its strict approach.
With inputs from agencies.