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Shanghai locals scream from windows, protest as city faces food shortage amid Covid-19 spike | Viral Videos

India Today 10-04-2022 India Today Web Desk

As Covid-19 cases in China's Shanghai, the one-party government is showing no signs of easing the stringent lockdown it has imposed on the city of 26 million. People in the financial hub are reportedly running out of food, water and other necessities, with many said to be on the brink of starvation.

Videos are doing the rounds on social media, purportedly showing the people of Shanghai complaining of lack of food and medical care. Barred from leaving their houses, they took to their balconies to scream, sing and lend voice to their anger, fears and suffering.

As Shanghai residents yelled out their frustrations from their balconies and windows, the government's response to the outcry was "control your soul's desire for freedom". India Today could not independently verify these videos.

Like something out of a dystopian science fiction movie, authorities allegedly deployed drones which broadcast the message: "Control the soul's desire for freedom and do not open the window to sing. This behaviour has the risk of spreading the epidemic."

The phrase "control the soul's desire for freedom" was a reference to a controversial remark made by a Chinese lawmaker during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020, when the government imposed stringent lockdown measures in Wuhan, the ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak.

READ | Xi Jinping defends China's zero-Covid policy amid Shanghai lockdown to curb surge in cases

In some pockets of Shanghai, the tense situation spiralled out of control and riots broke out. Videos showed a large group of people raising slogans and cornering officials wearing hazmat suits, before looting a supermarket.

The videos form a rare montage of public anger and pushback against the totalitarian government's ironclad anti-Covid measures.

All of Shanghai has been locked down since April 1. The eastern third of the city has been locked down even longer -- since March 28. The national government has sent in 2,000 military medics and 10,000 medical workers from other provinces to help in the fight against the Covid wave, fuelled by the Omicron variant.

The strain of testing and treatment is taking a heavy toll on health care professionals too. A video shared on Twitter showed a doctor being rushed out of an isolation facility, carried by patients, after he collapsed while performing his duties.

Shanghai reported 25,000 Covid-19 infections on Sunday, another highest daily peak in the worst Covid outbreak in China in two years. In order to stop the spread of the disease, the city has been placed under the strict "dynamic zero" Covid strategy .

Under zero Covid, all 26 million inhabitants of Shanghai underwent mass testing. Anyone infected must be taken from their homes and quarantined. All close contacts of the infected are also taken away and isolated. The rest have been barred from leaving their homes or apartment buildings.

Plans called for four-day closures of districts while residents were tested. That changed to an indefinite citywide shutdown after case numbers soared. Many residents in Shanghai have struggled to arrange for food deliveries to their homes during the lockdown.

Children, including toddlers and infants, have sometimes been taken from their parents to be quarantined separately, although the Shanghai government is now starting to offer family quarantines for children with special needs. City officials apologized publicly last week and promised to improve food supplies.

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