Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Lockdown Diaries: This is a Human-Made Disaster

Posts about the covid outbreak in Shanghai, China:

Complete list is here: Index of Posts About the March 2022 Shanghai Covid Outbreak

On the Current Covid Outbreak in Shanghai (March 12)
I'm in Lockdown (March 16)
I'm Still in Lockdown (March 19)
I'm in Lockdown Again (March 25)
Now All of Pudong (East Shanghai) is in Lockdown (March 28)
Lockdown Diaries: Covid Case in Our Complex, and Free Veggies from the Government (March 31)
Lockdown Diaries: Antigen Self-Tests, and Children with Covid (April 3)
Lockdown Diaries: Dressing Up, Free Medicine, Free Rice (April 6)
Lockdown Diaries: I am Okay, Shanghai is Not (April 9)
Lockdown Diaries: Part of Shanghai is Out of Lockdown (April 12)
Lockdown Diaries: Dystopian Madness (April 15)
Lockdown Diaries: 3 Covid Deaths Reported in Shanghai (April 18)
Lockdown Diaries: More of the Same (April 22)


Perfect Number is still in lockdown!

Here's the updated timeline:

March 16-21: First lockdown. 6 days.

March 23-now: Second lockdown. 35 days and counting.

Nucleic acid tests (conducted by baymax, ie, the workers in white hazmat suits): 18 times (March 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, 26, 28, 30, April 4, 6, 9, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26)

Antigen self-tests: 13 times (April 2, 3, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 [twice], 15, 16, 22, 23, 25)

(The above info is specific to our apartment complex. Other apartment complexes in Shanghai will have a similar situation but not exactly the same.)


"Sounds of April" video with English subtitles

Last time I mentioned a video that went viral on WeChat (despite being censored over and over and over), called “四月之声” ["Sounds of April"]. Well, a reader sent me a link to the "Sounds of April" video on YouTube with English subtitles. This is great- I am glad it's been translated and people who don't speak Chinese can hear what's going on here.

(The translation is a bit rough, and there's a delay between the audio and the subtitles, but yeah, this is good.)

Here it is (you might have to turn on YouTube's subtitles, if they are not automatically on):


Hard lockdown

Sometime around April 23, we started seeing a lot of posts on WeChat about a "hard lockdown"- which means actual physical barriers put up so people literally can't get out of their buildings. Seems like this is happening in some places in Xuhui and Pudong (districts in Shanghai). 

It's surprising, and worrying, how many posts I saw on WeChat about this. How many photos and videos. I knew that this kind of thing had happened before, but it was more of an isolated incident- like one security guard who had a bad idea... But now, it's happening in so many places. 

(Not in our apartment complex, fortunately. We're not allowed to leave, they've got the gates physically blocked, but there is always a security guard at the main gate who can open it when necessary. That's different from what I'm seeing in these "hard lockdown" photos- it's like they build a fence around the entrance to your building, and just leave you there.)

(And, like, to be clear, this "hard lockdown" is DEFINITELY NOT the case for the majority of Shanghai. Don't get the wrong idea, don't read this and think it means that "most people" are being physically locked in. It's not like that. But it's started to happen often enough that the number of photos on social media is alarming.)

So people are all like, what if there's a fire? What if there's an emergency and we need to get out?

I mean, this has got to be all kinds of illegal. Definitely violates fire safety rules.

And then, on the night of April 23, there was a video shared a lot on WeChat... An apartment building totally on fire, and you can hear people screaming. I have no idea what the actual situation was- it's social media, you don't really know ... can't really fact-check... It was terrifying, though, that video. 

So... probably... there was a fire in a "hard lockdown" building, and people were trapped inside. I don't know, I haven't seen anything in the news about it to say what actually happened.


Other cities in China are preparing for lockdown

Elsewhere in China, they are looking at what's happening here, and getting ready to face it themselves. I have heard about various cities doing mass-testing after discovering a few covid cases. 

Beijing, in particular, is maybe possibly going to go into lockdown- in some of the big WeChat groups I'm in, there are people from Shanghai and people from Beijing, and the Shanghai people are giving the Beijing people advice about what to buy before a possible lockdown. (My advice is to buy chocolate and pasta and things like that, which Chinese people don't see as essential and therefore won't be available in the group buys.)


And more bad news

I saw a WeChat post about a delivery driver who got into an accident, and it took a whole hour for an ambulance to come, and he died. I won't go into more details, I guess, because we don't know how reliable the information is... See, this is the problem, when the powers that be are censoring the news, the only way we can find out about these things is through social media posts which may or may not be embellished. (I believe it though.)

I have also been hearing anecdotes about suicides during lockdown.

Sixth Tone reports that a property manager who was constantly working to help residents during lockdown has died.

Also I have seen WeChat posts from people who work with pet rescue organizations or pet boarding companies- there have been situations where a pet owner tested positive and was taken to quarantine, and pets were left alone at home for weeks and starved to death. These pet rescue groups repost a lot of requests for help- a lot of "owner tested positive, dog is home alone, need to find someone living in the same complex who can go in and feed the dog."

And I have seen videos about elderly disabled people who were taken to the quarantine centers because they tested positive for covid. This is awful- these places are very much NOT set up for disabled people. In the photos I have seen, the toilets are "squat toilets" rather than "western toilets" (though this isn't necessarily the case for all the quarantine centers), ie, it's a toilet basin built into the floor, that you squat over, you don't sit on it- this just DOES NOT WORK for someone who uses a wheelchair. (Many many aspects of the quarantine centers are unworkable for disabled people.) It's terrible.

And all of this, it makes me so mad because it didn't have to be this way. These things should not have happened. This mismanagement and disregard for people's needs, it's just awful. 

It didn't have to be this way. This lockdown is a human-made disaster.

(People are saying that probably when all this is done, some of Shanghai's government officials will lose their jobs.)

So people are saying that China needs to end zero-covid. To be honest, I'm not sold on that- omicron is still deadly. People act like omicron is no big deal, but that's just not true. But at least China needs to make it a priority to get elderly people vaccinated.

Anyway... that's what's going on here. I'm fine, I have enough food. But for a lot of people in Shanghai, things are not good.


From Sixth Tone: 

Meet the Grassroots Officials on the Front Lines of COVID Zero (April 24) (This article is about China overall, rather than specifically about Shanghai.)


Next post: Lockdown Diaries: Exciting New Definition of "Society"

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