Shanghai has promised to facilitate foreigners seeking to leave the country during the city’s stringent lockdown. According to an expatriate, such a wish might not be as easily achieved.

As Chinese language news media Xin Tang Ren reported, the Shanghai Epidemic Prevention and Control Center said on April 17 that foreigners in Shanghai could leave for their home country if they meet certain criteria and are willing to go.

The city said there would be subsidies and other assistance to facilitate the foreigners living in Shanghai, which includes sending special vehicles from other regions to pick up people for home quarantine.

However, leaving Shanghai in the middle of a lockdown is more challenging than that. According to LeMonde, a person has to present a permit from the district committee to leave their residence, tested for Covid-19 at a hospital, and somehow find a way to reach the airport in a “ghost town,” not to mention most flights have been curtailed because of staff shortage.

Such were the hurdles that Bruce, a foreigner living in Shanghai, faced when he tried to get his family away from the city.

As Voice of America (VOA) reported on April 22, Bruce and his family were waiting for a special clearance from the neighborhood committee to leave the compound.

Despite getting assistance from his business and the embassy of his native country, the panel denied Bruce’s pass application.

On the other hand, China has required that passengers must have a negative COVID-19 test done within 48 hours in order to depart from any Chinese airports.

According to Bruce, arranging an official test at a local hospital and receiving test results in time during lockdown is impossible because the neighborhood committee will not permit a timely hospital visit.

Moreover, transportation to either of Shanghai’s two airports is no easy task.
Bruce said, “There is literally no transport to the airport … no subways and buses.

There are no taxis. There’s no Uber.”

The only option is to take the Airport Shuttle Bus Line No. 1. But the station is six kilometers (approximately four miles) from Bruce’s house.

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