Shanghai’s COVID Lockdown

Frustration in Shanghai mounts as a two-stage lockdown  takes effect following a surge in COVID cases. Authorities had adopted a targeted approach to dealing with the outbreak, however, as case numbers continued to rise, it became clear a new strategy was necessary. Residents in Shanghai, China’s most populous city as well as its financial capital, have taken to social media to vent their frustrations with the lockdown. Citizens who have self-tested positive complain about waiting days to be transported to a central facility. More complaints were voiced about medical care access, purchasing food and other daily tasks that are difficult at best under lockdown conditions.

Although the number of new cases in Shanghai is small by global standards, reaching upwards of 15,000 in three days, China persists with an aggressive strategy. Its ‘dynamic clearance’ approach calls for all residents testing positive for COVID-19 to be sent to hospitals or a central quarantine facility. Close contacts and neighbors are ordered to quarantine at home and self-test.   The city has essentially been divided into two, with the Huangpu River acting as the boundary line. Neighborhoods east of the river were placed in lockdown on Monday, with the western areas expected to enter restrictions by Friday.

Rumors that authorities would begin the lockdown in the western neighborhoods earlier than Friday sparked panic buying and chaos. Officials have attempted to quash the rumors yet persistent reports from neighborhoods in the west paint a different picture. Many residents there received notice on Tuesday from their housing committees that they would be stopped from leaving their compounds for the next seven days, according to a report from Reuters.

Shanghai’s lockdown will carry a global effect as well. Manufacturing will plateau at least temporarily as factories close for a period. This will only add to the litany of problems facing global supply chains. Oil prices fell earlier this week too as the COVID lockdown created fears about declining demand for oil from China. The retreat will only be temporary though as the global oil market struggles to replace Russian supply.

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