Shanghai, China, the 25 million citizens city, recorded almost 2.500 new cases, with only 51 new deaths on Sunday, April 24. While the world copes with the pandemic by moving into living with the virus, China still maintains a strict Zero-Covid policy.
Going through the most extended lockdown for almost a month and with no sign of easing, Shanghainese have to deal with many problems, including food shortages, medical access problems, and quarantine sites of poor quality.
Shen, a migrant worker from Jiangsu, shared his story under lock-downed Shanghai with Chinese-language media Da Ji Yuan on April 23.
Shen said he has 29 coworkers in Shanghai. They come from surrounding provinces like Anhui and Jiangsu. He started this new job last year, and he has more than 900,000 yuan in wages unpaid.
In March, he and his coworkers came to Shanghai to ask for payment. They demanded wages for more than half a month and successfully got paid more than 600,000 yuan. Then, the lockdown was suddenly implemented, and he could not go back.
Shen recalled what happened to 29 of them: 18 tested negative but were sent to Jinhua, Zhejiang province for quarantine. At the same time, 11 were Covid-19 positive and sent to a square cabin—or China’s mobile field hospitals—. Soon enough, three more people among them tested positive and were dragged away late at night.
He complained that they might have been allowed to go home after quarantine in Zhejiang, but they were instead dragged back to Shanghai for another round of isolation.
Shen said they were first quarantined in a dorm in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area.
Later, they were moved to another migrant worker dorm in Huangpu District.
After the city was locked down, they could not leave. The construction site was closed. And the gates were locked, so they could not go out. The group has been in Shanghai for more than a month, having to spend their own money on food. They live through days with instant noodles.
He recalled hundreds of people locked up together in his first quarantine site. Sixteen people were confined in the shed, and several sheds were lined up. They were all iron houses.
Moreover, he had no replacement clothes. He is still wearing winter clothes now because he did not bring enough clothes. And now, after asking for wages for more than two months, he could not return. He’s very worried about his wife, who is in his hometown. She’s mentally ill and relies on injections and medicines every day. He’s afraid that she might die at home.
He is worried about death now. He doesn’t know when he can come back!
He complained about the quarantine conditions. The food is not good, and the tofu is sour. The place is very stuffy and not cleaned every day. The window is closed and not allowed to open because there are positive cases at the front and the back of the compound where he lives.