spread of COVID baffles locked-down Shanghai residents -Breaking
By Brenda Goh
SHANGHAI, (Reuters) Veronica believed she had done everything correctly by adhering to the COVID-19 lockdown rules for Shanghai.
Her family of four followed the government’s orders to remain at home after April 1st, when the city was closed down. They only left the house for mandatory PCR testing.
Veronica, her neighbors, and all of the curbs in Mid-April were slightly relaxed, allowing residents to walk around their properties. Veronica wore masks.
They were free of COVID for several weeks.
Veronica believes she had taken her 12th PCR testing in April. She, her other family member, as well as a few of her neighbours, all tested positive.
“I don’t know how it was caught,” said Veronica. However, she declined to disclose her full name because of privacy.
The building she lived in was sealed. Her family, as well as the other positives were placed in quarantine. All other patients were sent back inside for 14 more days.
“I adhered to all rules,” Veronica declared from a quarantine facility where she and her family were confined in a long hall with hundreds.
Veronica is one of thousands to have contracted COVID from compounds that were sealed for several weeks and had not been infected by the coronavirus.
It is difficult to stop the spreading of Omicron’s highly transmissible Omicron variant. China continues to cling to its zero-COVID policies, perpetuating an endless cycle of lockdowns and anger.
According to Reuters, residents of 4,836 addresses were in a similar position between April 21-May 2, with the same infection occurring after several weeks.
Only 471 addresses had been recorded to have found at most one case by April 30 after they had registered no in the 29 preceding days. There were many residents living at an address, ranging from just a few to many.
Shanghai’s security measures are extremely tight, especially in April’s first two weeks. Only exceptional reasons like a medical emergency, allow residents to escape their compound. Some residents are restricted from interacting with their neighbours outside of their doors.
Shanghai has seen a drop in daily cases for six consecutive days, but there are still thousands more being discovered every day. This leads to speculation on how COVID spreads and debates over whether the zero-COVID policy is wise.
STRAIGHTENING TO A POINT
Many residents are searching for answers and point to the long lines for the frequent PCR testing or delivery of food. All depend on property managers staff, volunteers and couriers.
Some individuals have begun refusing PCR testing, resulting in penalties for not complying.
Shanghai’s government was asked to comment on Wu Huanyu’s remarks from April 14, which included the statement that, among many other possibilities, transmission of infection by distribution of supplies couldn’t be ruled.
According to health experts, the spread of disease is a sign that China has difficulty adhering to its zero COVID goals.
“Their zero COVID policy works to a point but then they will keep getting hit hard, especially when they haven’t used that time to get high coverage of their most vulnerable population,” said Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, referring to China’s relatively low rates of vaccination compared with other places.
Jaya Dantas is a health specialist at Australia’s Curtin School of Population Health. She said that China’s method had been costly and would require months to eradicate transmission.
“They’ve been very effective and harsh, with continuous testing that is resource, labour intensive and financial intensive. She said that there are significant mental health effects on the populace.
The lockdowns of Shanghai and other cities have caused rare protests, particularly as the persistence of very few infections has prolonged the confinement for millions more.
A new COVID case can have multiple consequences. All close relatives and the person who is positive must all be placed in quarantine. The clock resets every time there is a new case.
Veronica said that she was scarred from the experience.
She stated, “Don’t leave your apartment. I don’t know how that works anymore.”