For almost two weeks now, the citizens of Shanghai have been working on a very strict new lockdown. The most confusing and disturbing news comes from the most populous city in China. But what is happening? Are Chinese authorities killing pets in the name of “Zero Covid” strategy? An Italian living in Shanghai explained to us what the real situation in China is
From Shanghai Tragic images and news come. The most populous city China About two weeks ago, after the recurrence of the infection, it sank into a very severe lockdown and now has a ghostly face. COVID-19. An estimated 26 million people are struggling with the new restrictions, which are causing numerous inconveniences and testing the patience of many.
The town now looks scary and the shelves of a few shops left open are gradually becoming empty. But pets also pay the price for the so-called “zero covid” strategy. The video shows a man (apparently a compound worker and not a health worker) beating and killing a poor Corgi dog.
There is a misconception behind this extreme measure – also denied by the WHO – that pets like dogs and cats can transmit coronavirus to humans.
But what is the real environment of Shanghai? How do Chinese citizens face these strict restrictions? To understand what is happening nowadays, we interviewed an Italian who has lived and worked in Shanghai for 12 years, but who prefers to remain anonymous. Here’s what he told us.
Interview with an Italian living in Shanghai
How is your normal day during this time?
At this point the ordinary day tries to buy food through the team organized by the compound to buy food. I consider myself very lucky because our compound is quite large and organized. We didn’t have any food shortages or other serious problems, but the fate of all the people here in Shanghai was not the same. Some people have problems with lack of communication due to not knowing Chinese language.
Shanghai has imposed such strict sanctions for the first time. Why is it still different from the rest of China?
Shanghai, being the economic city of China, is considered a champion city, somewhat like Beijing, Hong Kong. They are the cities that are “an example” to the rest of China, they are the most developed. Shanghai has about twenty metro lines and a population of over 26 million. Luckily, in 2019 I was able to enter Italy from Shanghai. I’m just surviving this. What I heard from friends and colleagues was not as strong as this time. The main restriction is that no one can cross a district. The city of Shanghai is divided into districts, with Xi’an being the most central part, followed by Putuo, Huangpu and Minhang. The districts could not be crossed, but there was no physical line separating them.
There is not even a police check at the moment, because yesterday I crossed the line to deliver a package, I went further and I did not see any “reinforcement” by the police. I would like to compare the lockdown that I did in Italy with what I am doing here, the Italian is a joke in comparison. I remember coming to Italy in February 2020 and no one asked me where I came from, no one took my temperature, they practically didn’t ask me anything.
Why such a drastic suppression at a time when the virus is less “dangerous”? People were not vaccinated? Is there another variant circulation? What does the media say?
In fact, China has always had a zero-quid policy, but in reality there is virtually no death in the current numbers. And many people are vaccinated, but not 100%. The media is saying whatever the government wants. Among foreigners of any nationality, thinking is common and measures are considered excessive. The media has “scared” people with the Omicron variant. But more than the virus, who knows where the Chinese will be taken from their homes and separated from their families and where they will end up.
It should also be noted that very few Chinese use VPN which gives access to the outside world through Facebook, YouTube etc. At the moment, many videos are periodically censored on Chinese social networks. Instead, articles that denigrate other nations are not subject to censorship.
Many videos circulating on social media have shot looting scenes by residents of some areas, but help us to understand so as not to make mistakes and to analyze what is happening in China …
I haven’t seen any video of the looting, but in the last few days there has been a rush to retrieve groceries and toilet paper. I didn’t see any scenes of looting, because it would be unlikely because we were all locked up in the house.
Why do so many people suddenly find themselves in Shanghai without food and other basic necessities?
This food problem has arisen because we have received a warning from the authorities that they will keep Shanghai under lockdown. But they said it was only for 4 days, instead for me they were 11 years old. Then obviously this problem hit everyone, because it is a city with more than 26 million inhabitants and there was a supply crisis.
Although, since the first outbreak of the epidemic, the International Health Organization has said that there is no evidence that pets have played a significant role in the spread of Kovid-19 among humans, there have been horrific scenes of dog beatings. Is the road really going? Are animals really so targeted?
Unfortunately, the video of the dog being beaten on the street is true. In 90%, however, the person shown in the video was not a health worker, but a person in charge of administering the compounds. So they are not people of adequate level of education. There was a video about dogs that made me think … the municipality immediately tried to handle it, pet management centers were set up but they were problematic because the animals should be sent before they are found positive.
Operators do not want to touch the animals of people who have tested positive. I have a few acquaintances who have a cat at home and who have tested positive. They have been taken away and the cat is home alone at the moment, although it has plenty of food and water.
What is the best thing to do to keep your pet safe?
The best solution would be to have a neighbor who would volunteer, but ignorance or fear of being infected often stands in the way. And it so happened that even the neighbors refused to accept the animal and even when some people were released from the hospital because they were considered not dangerous (after two negative swabs) and could return to their home, the neighbors refused. And was reported to a center. However, not all people are transferred to the center. Some at home, some at the hotel. There are all sorts of structures: the most annoying images – all of which you have seen – are of centers where hygiene is lacking.
Are the streets of Shanghai really secluded and the shops empty? In what atmosphere are you breathing?
There is still no one on the road, only a few small couriers that deliver, a few cars, a few police cars and some ambulances, as well as buses that work in the public sector and that are used to transport people. Manage the municipality .. The problem is buying things. The shops are empty, I only get three. The police stopped them all. There are actually some stores that open their shutters and sell whatever they please to customers.
In those hours, Shanghai authorities should have started easing the blockade in some areas, which city official Gu Honghui called “appropriate activity” in some neighborhoods where no positive events had taken place for at least two weeks. What does this mean? What can be done?
The situation is still unclear. On the evening of the 11th I was allowed to go out, but nothing was going to happen as everything was closed. Yesterday I brought some packages to the helpless people with difficulty. I confined myself to packing these packages and delivering them to a number of people, placing them at the entrance to the compound. There are racks at each entrance. You leave the package there, you enter the building and apartment numbers and then the people inside the compound take care to deliver the things.
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