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Shanghai turns residences into COVID isolation facilities, sparking protest -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: A 17-storey building was transformed into a temporary hospital by workers for coronavirus diseases (COVID-19), Shanghai, China. This photo was taken April 12, 2022. China Daily via REUTERS

By Brenda Goh

SHANGHAI (Reuters). Shanghai converts residential buildings into quarantine facilities to host a rising number of COVID-19 victims. But, the protestors are angry and concerned that they may be at greater risk.

An incident that was live-streamed via WeChat on Thursday afternoon showed about 30 people in hazmat suits and the word “police” on their backs fighting with each other outside of a housing complex, resulting in at least one arrest.

As she recorded the scene, a woman was heard sobbing. The footage was seen by more than 10,000 viewers before it was cut abruptly. WeChat’s livestream platform announced that it contained “dangerous material”.

The woman filming said, “It is not that I do not want to work with the country. But how would you feel living in a building where blocks are just 10m (30ft) apart and everyone has tested positive, and these people can enter?

While the video cannot be independently verified, it was confirmed Friday by the building management.

Zhangjiang Group owns the property. It stated that five buildings had been converted into isolation centers by authorities and was advised nine more would follow.

According to the company, it said that 39 renters were moved into rooms elsewhere in the property and provided them with compensation.

The group stated that tenants had obstructed construction on the site of an isolation fence when they were being constructed by our company.

A request by the Shanghai government for comments on their current quarantine policy was not immediately answered.

The compound is near to Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, where several housing companies, including GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE) and Hewlett-Packard were located. A resident confirmed on Tuesday that they had been notified by the authorities asking residents to evacuate.

According to a witness, workers arrived on Thursday afternoon. Police arrived soon after. The sensitive nature of the matter meant that she could not be identified.

She said that “this place is absolutely unsuitable to be a quarantine facility,” and expressed fears about contracting the virus by being so close to patients.

China’s Zero-COVID policy requires that all people with positive tests must immediately be admitted to quarantine. The neighbours can also be asked for their isolation.

Shanghai is now the center of China’s biggest outbreak, since the virus was discovered in Wuhan at the end of 2019, and has seen more than 300,000.

This city is converting apartments blocks that have been completed recently and schools into quarantine centres. It announced last week that it has established more than 160,000 beds in over 100 emergency rooms.

China’s regulations allow authorities to seize buildings and properties to address emergency situations.

According to social media reports, cities across the nation have also taken over facilities that house quarantined citizens, prompting complaints by people who were forced to leave.