a French recounts the extreme confinement in Shanghai

Faced with the rebound of Covid, the city of Shanghai (China) is confined in almost all its districts in an extremely strict manner, causing the revolt of many inhabitants. Alexandre, a Frenchman living in Shanghai, describes a chaotic and very worrying situation for RMC.

The harshness of the confinement in Shanghai, from the inside. Alexandre, a Frenchman who lives in this sprawling city of 27 million people. the situation is there totally chaotic, with a large part of the metropolis confined for three weeks due to the rebound of the Covid, with sometimes extremely strict rules depending on the district. A severity that leads some to rebel. China continues its “zero covid” strategy and the city of Shanghai is facing its biggest spike in infections since the start of the pandemic.

Alexandre recounts at length for RMC a very distressing daily life, marked in particular by great difficulties in obtaining food and water in his 18-story building.

“There is a padlock on the front door, we absolutely cannot leave our building”

“We have been confined since April 1, but the Pudong (East) district has even been confined since March 26. I live with my girlfriend, there are about a hundred people in the building with several guards in the background. They occupy entrances and exits. ” There, at this time, it is more to monitor the arrival of goods and disinfect them than to let us leave. There’s a lock on this door, so we can’t get out of our building at all. Having the front door sealed… We think there may be a fire and we couldn’t evacuate.”

“Once every two days, PCR tests are done in the lower part of our building”

“We can’t go out and then every morning we wake up, the streets are almost deserted, ambulances pass, police cars… Cars pass with recorded messages to reassure the population. made at the bottom of our building. We do them 10 times 10. And it turns out we had a positive case on April 6th. I was in the group for this positive test. In general, we receive the results 8 hours later, but I did not get this result there, so the authorities came to see me to tell me that I had to do the tests again and that they were going to seal the door with a sheet for 24 hours, it’s quite distressing because I thought I was going to test positive. That was last week.”

“We were afraid of being positive and that they would take us to camps”

“We really don’t know how it goes in terms of incubation time. Anyway, we don’t have any information here. We were afraid of being positive and being taken to camps where we stayed for a week, a week and a half, in fairly spartan conditions. We are lucky to be in a nice apartment, I know people who are in 15 m², where they cannot leave the house especially. It is very difficult to go outside, even to sunbathe. It’s quite frustrating and anxiety-provoking.”

“We would have a potential release date of April 20 if there are no other cases in our building”

“This situation of increasing cases started at the beginning of March. They had forced us to telework and five days of confinement, then a second confinement later… It is very demoralizing and above all we have little information. We refer to WeChat, the Facebook Chinese. We discussed with groups of French people, with people attached to the embassy and the CCI who do a great job. But we don’t have official information. We read and speak Chinese, so we see that “we would have a potential launch date”. April if and only if there are no other cases in our building, so hopefully neighbors will test negative.”

“Tap water is not drinkable in Shanghai”

“On the lack of food, it’s very obvious. Water too. Tap water is not drinkable in Shanghai. The advice to boil water for drinking… With all the heavy metals and pollution, I’m not too excited about it.” Everything works by request, by fast delivery. Usually, an online supermarket delivers to us. But everyone rushed to the supermarkets to prepare, in the first days of confinement. We had a large order but it never arrived. We ran out of bottled water .and the food pretty fast.”

“It is quite difficult to eat enough and above all to drink clean water”

“Everything is closed. In less than 20 minutes, usually, we have a quick meal that can come home. There you have to wait to be able to connect to the application. There are so many people trying to validate your cart that you can’t even connect to the app. After ten days of work, you just found out that you can do group orders through government-licensed companies, but you have to order very large. They are ’emergency boxes’ with milk, pasta, food to survive. But it is quite difficult to eat enough and especially to drink clean water. In my fridge, it is summarized, we have enough to survive three or four days.

“The first week of lockdown was very chaotic, the Shanghai government was not prepared for this quite strict lockdown. It is morally and psychologically draining. If we ever have a case in our building, unfortunately everyone will resume 14 days of lockdown.”

“It is not possible to stay in quarantine at home if you are positive, without the agreement of all the neighbors”

“There are many videos of Chinese rebelling, of course censored by the Chinese internet. With Chinese complaining that they don’t have food, that they can’t go out, that they are left in pitiful conditions. The lack of information and the lack of help, where we live, it is catastrophic. When we ask them when we are going to leave, there is no information from them. There are drones that go through the neighborhoods with a megaphone saying the official propaganda messages”.

There have been positive children separated from their families. Articles have been published on WeChat explaining why and it is not possible to stay in quarantine at home if one is positive, without the agreement of all the neighbors. The neighbors are quite individualistic, so they do not allow positive people to stay at home. We will never have the agreement of the entire building if we are positive. We talk to the consulate if we are positive and ready to be sent to these camps. The procedure is to contact the consul to declare yourself positive.”

“There is also the fear of seeing our cat sacrificed”

“The fear we also have is that we have a cat, if we are positive it does not matter, but we do not want them to come and take our cat away, because documents are circulating that say that “they would have all the rights to our pet. It is shocking. There is the fear of seeing our little beast slaughtered.”

“Fortunately, we have tremendous solidarity among the French in Shanghai. We are 4,600 French registered, we could not vote in the first round. We were at 20,000 before the start of Covid. We cannot travel to France as we would like. It is very difficult to tell you You just can’t get into this kind of situation.”

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