The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, the newly COVID-stricken city in China, will evacuate its non-emergency personnel and their families due to the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement issued by the U.S. diplomatic mission in China on April 9, the Department of State on April 8 approved the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members of emergency and non-emergency U.S. government employees from the Consulate General Shanghai consular district.
The U.S. diplomatic mission cited the surge in COVID-19 cases in Shanghai and the impact of the strict prevention measures from China’s government as reasons for their decision about voluntary evacuation.
The U.S. mission said: “The United States has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas, including Mission China’s personnel and their families.”
According to a statement, Ambassador Nicholas Burns and other Department and Mission officials have directly raised concerns over the outbreak and China’s control measures with Chinese officials and informed them about the voluntary departure decision.
On April 8, the State Department issued a Travel Advisory, urging U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to China due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.
In addition, the department advised American citizens not to travel to Hong Kong, Jilin province, and Shanghai due to COVID-19-related restrictions, including the risk of parents and children being separated.
The U.S. mission said that the Consular Section in Shanghai is currently closed to the public due to the recent lockdown in the cỉty, but emergency services are still available for the citizens.
Before the U.S.’s decision, the French Consulate General in Shanghai, on behalf of 24 European Union member states, sent a letter to the Shanghai Foreign Affairs, complaining about the difficulties caused by the city’s Covid containment measures.
According to Radio France Internationale, the French Consulate sent some requests, including:
First, parents and children should stay together under any circumstances.
Second, asymptomatic or mildly infected people should have a special isolation environment and staff who can communicate in English.
Third, those who are in contact with cases but not infected should stay home for self-management instead of going to centralized isolation points.
Fourth, E.U. citizens must be able to obtain emergency medical assistance in a timely and effective manner.
Fifth, E.U. citizens and their families who have booked international flights can enter Shanghai’s two major international airports, regardless of whether their place of residence is under lockdown.
And sixth, pets in people’s homes in centralized isolation should be fed regularly.