Shanghai is also isolating negative cases

Negative and forced quarantine: Despite containment in Shanghai and drastic anti-COVID measures, even healthy residents find themselves in solitary confinement to contain the contagion.

China, which was largely spared for two years, has faced its worst epidemic outbreak since spring 2020 in recent weeks.

In by far the hardest-hit metropolis of Shanghai, whose 25 million residents have been confined for a month, anyone who tests positive, even if asymptomatic, is sent to a collective quarantine center – with varying levels of comfort and hygiene. .

It happens that residents are put on buses in the middle of the night to be evacuated. Many local residents are upset about these isolation measures. Especially since a negative test no longer necessarily equates to peace of mind.

Several people who tested negative told AFP they were forced to leave their homes to isolate outside of Shanghai. A few hundred kilometers from the city.

“We had no choice,” says Lucy, a resident who has chosen to keep her last name a secret for fear of reprisals.

“The police have told us that there are too many positive cases in our apartment.”

According to the police, the stay meant taking the risk of infection.

And finally, to increase the official toll as China has a zero-COVID policy. Shanghai reported 7,137 new positive cases on Monday, down slightly in 24 hours.

Lucy was evicted with her neighbors in the middle of the night and taken more than 400km from her home to a makeshift quarantine center in eastern Anhui province.

This resident does not know when she can return home.

His mishap is not unique. AFP has been able to speak to other Shanghainese who have also been sent to solitary confinement in other provinces.

A resident of the Jing’an district, known for its namesake temple and trendy cafes, testified on condition of anonymity.

In her place of residence, the negative cases “all received a call” to leave their homes, she says.

The positive cases “were transferred to hotels to be isolated (there),” specifies this resident, who also finds herself in a “scary” quarantine center in Anhui.

In view of the summary situation, the companions in the accident at their place of residence “lost all trust in the Shanghai authorities,” she said.

Another resident interviewed by AFP assures that his neighbors’ staunch opposition has in no way stopped the authorities from detaining them outside of Shanghai.

The controversial measure reflects “strong pressure” from power on local authorities not to reach cases, said Yanzhong Huang, a health issues specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States.

Officials are routinely fired for alleged violations following the emergence of an epidemic.

Therefore, to protect themselves from such a sanction, some officials are tempted to resort to “excessive measures,” notes Mr. Huang.

However, the transfer of negative patients can also be a question of “prevention”, as the authorities expect an increase in cases of infection within a certain radius.

Tens of thousands of contact cases in provinces bordering Shanghai have been placed in solitary confinement, according to the official New China Agency.

However, the media does not mention any negative cases.

Shanghai City Hall did not respond to AFP’s requests for clarification.

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