China buses Shanghai COVID patients to quarantine sites

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Shanghai residents have complained that babies and the elderly are being bused away to COVID-19 quarantine sites in the middle of the night — as the city steps up transfers in a bid to meet a so-called Wednesday deadline to stop the spread of the virus.

Photos posted on social media showed elderly people in wheelchairs, wearing masks and protective gear, arriving by bus outside one of Shanghai’s designated quarantine facilities in the dead of night.

Other residents shared stories of how their relatives, including those over 90 and even babies, were being taken from their homes at night and sent to makeshift hospitals after testing positive for the virus.

The complaints come as authorities face pressure from Beijing to speed up the transfers of positive cases to quarantine centers under a policy designed to try to stop the spread of COVID rather than just slow it down.

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) are seen while a resident and a boy prepares to board a bus next to the entrance of a neighborhood during a Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in the Jing'an district in Shanghai
Tens of thousands of residents have already been sent to the quarantine facilities.
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images
compound during a Covid-19 lockdown in Pudong district
A community volunteer is seen as residents line up for a COVID test in a compound in the Pudong district of Shanghai.
LIU JIN/AFP via Getty Images

Shanghai, which has enforced its oppressive lockdowns for the last three weeks, is aiming to stop the spread outside of its quarantined areas by Wednesday so it can begin to ease restrictions, sources have told Reuters.

The city hasn’t revealed how it plans to open up, but is aiming to reach the Wednesday target by carrying out mass testing and accelerating the quarantine transfers.

Authorities on Tuesday were pleading for public cooperation amid the push to test most of the population — as some defiant locals refused to join PCR testing lines after weeks of such requirements, or fear it would put them at greater risk of infection.

People rest in a temporary hospital for Covid-positive people in Shanghai, China,
People rest in a temporary hospital for COVID-positive people in Shanghai, China.
EPA/SHAN SHI
A medical worker in a protective suit collects swab from a resident at a makeshift nucleic acid testing site inside a residential compound under lockdown,
Shanghai is aiming to reach the Wednesday deadline target by carrying out mass testing and accelerating the quarantine transfers.
REUTERS/Xihao Jiang

“By conducting multiple, consecutive rounds of PCR testing we will be able to dynamically detect positive cases as early as possible, as this will help us to reach zero-COVID at community level more quickly,” city health official Hu Xiaobo said.

Tens of thousands of residents have already been sent to the quarantine facilities, which include converted schools and apartment blocks. The facilities have been plagued by complaints from patients of overcrowding and being unsanitary.

Shanghai reported 550 new COVID cases outside the quarantine zones Monday — down from the 561 the day before and the fourth consecutive decline.

 People who have been tested negative in the last two nucleic acid tests, line up to leave a temporary hospital for Covid-positive people
Shanghai has enforced its oppressive lockdowns for the last three weeks.
EPA/SHAN SHI
A community volunteer wearing personal protective equipment stands as residents line up during a test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in a compound
The quarantine sites include converted schools and apartment blocks.
LIU JIN/AFP via Getty Images

The city also said seven people, all of them elderly with underlying health conditions, died of COVID Monday.

Chinese officials are optimistic they can start to ease the controversial restrictions that were put in place back on March 28 before the total lockdown was instituted on April 5.

With Shanghai’s lockdown taking an economic toll on the country, the city is trying to help some businesses resume production — even though COVID control rules may require workers to live on site.

Tesla resumed production at its Shanghai plant Tuesday following a three-week stoppage, Chinese local media reported.

SAIC Motor, the Chinese partner of Volkswagen and General Motors, also said Tuesday it was able to resume production at its Lingang plant.

With Post wires

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