Weird Week in Shanghai (more COVID)

Strangely stressful week in Shanghai… There have just been so many COVID cases popping up, and second-hand reports of buildings being put into lockdown. Here’s one example from yesterday (via Twitter):

A personal connection is that our family ayi can’t come to work today because the building she lives in is suddenly on lockdown. A mall in Shanghai called Global Harbor got put on lockdown yesterday, but someone in there insisted on leaving and going home, which put everyone in their building in lockdown today. (I didn’t think you could simply “insist on leaving lockdown,” but I’m guessing there’s more story there which we simply don’t know.)

Our ayi says that they can’t leave their building, but a notice with a QR code has been posted. They can scan it to pay 460 RMB for a nucleic acid test. Understandably, most of the residents don’t want to do that. (That’s kind of expensive.) So they’re just stuck waiting.

It’s a really weird feeling, how all of this stuff just comes through the grapevine (mostly on WeChat), because a lot of it isn’t officially reported. Different people have wildly different opinions on whether this is all “no big deal” (just a series of minor nuisances), or whether there’s some big scary situation (or at least super inconvenient situation) gradually developing.

My kids were also ordered to stay home from school today. Fortunately the semester is already essentially over anyway.

So life remains pretty normal, while at the same time being COVID-surreal. We’re all very curious to know how much longer this COVID-zero policy is going to continue.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

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