Shanghai officials urged residents to participate in the city’s latest testing push amid an ongoing COVID-19 lockdown. The lockdown, which has continued for almost three weeks, came in response to an outbreak fueled by the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron.
“By conducting multiple, consecutive rounds of PCR testing we will be able to dynamically detect positive cases as early as possible, as this will help us to reach zero-COVID at community level more quickly,” city health official Hu Xiaobo said.
Tuesday’s push came a day after Shanghai reported its first deaths from the latest outbreak. After reporting three deaths Monday, seven more were reported Tuesday.
“None of them had been vaccinated. Their situation deteriorated after entering the hospital and died despite rescue efforts,” Shanghai Health Commission inspector Wu Qianyu said Tuesday. “The direct cause was underlying diseases.”
According to Reuters, sources said Shanghai aims to stop the spread of COVID-19 outside the city’s quarantine zones by Wednesday. 550 of the 19,442 cases reported Monday were outside those zones.
It appears, however, that at least some Shanghai residents are hesitant to the testing push. Some are refusing due to testing fatigue, others for fear that being in testing lines puts them at greater risk of infection.
“We are willing to cooperate with the country, with the government, and with each level of city management to fight against the pandemic, but we also hope that our life can be respected,” Shanghai resident Grape Chen said last week.
“I need a scientific and reasonable judgement from the government, instead of watching the number of new cases everyday as the increase of confirmed cases never ends,” fellow resident Liu Yafei added.
Residents in China have been sharing stories on social media about busloads of people being taken from their homes and sent into quarantine. Some photos posted showed elderly people in wheelchairs, masked up and in protective gear, arriving by bus outside a quarantine center. Others posted stories of how their relatives, some of whom they said were over 90 or babies, were taken to makeshift hospitals in the middle of the night.