Residents of Shanghai were seen screaming from their balconies in protest against a draconian lockdown that allegedly doesn't even allow them to leave their houses to get food under China's "zero Covid" policy.
Videos viral on social media show trapped residents howling and screaming from inside high-rise buildings at night. "People screaming out of their windows after a week of total lockdown, no leaving your apartment for any reason," wrote radio host Patrick Madrid while sharing the video.
Earlier this week, drones reportedly warned people against failing to comply with the Covid-19 restrictions and asked them not to open windows. “Please comply with Covid-19 rules. Control your soul’s desire for freedom. Do not open windows to sing,” the drone can be heard saying.
Shanghai’s 26 million people have been on the edge amid a strict lockdown imposed in a bid to fight the worst surge of Covid infections since the onset of the pandemic. According to reports, authorities in China's financial centre will start easing the strict lockdown which earlier allowed only healthcare workers, volunteers, delivery personnel or those with special permission to move freely.
The lack of access to food, medicines and essentials has led to public resentment and anger against the authorities. Shanghai has also become a litmus test for China's Covid management strategy in the face of the highly infectious Omicron variant as it seeks to test, trace and centrally quarantine all people who test positive.
"China honestly might be hitting a breaking point with Ba2. Either it keeps going with tragedies growing or it changes direction...Hunger is growing fast," epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding wrote.
City official Gu Honghui on Monday said Shanghai has classified residential units into three risk categories, which would allow those in areas with no positive cases during a two-week stretch to engage in "appropriate activity" in their vicinity.
"Each district will announce the specific names of the first batch [of communities] divided into the three types, and three subsequent lists will be announced in a timely manner," he said.
He said the city has been divided into 7,624 areas that are still sealed off, a group of 2,460 now subjected to "controls" after a week of no fresh infections, and another 7,565 "prevention areas" that would be opened up after two weeks without a positive case.
"We also hope all citizens and friends will continue to support and cooperate," Mr Gu said.
Shanghai reported more than 25,000 Covid-19 infections on Sunday.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies