Shanghai Lockdown so far (April 2022)

By now it’s not news that all of Shanghai is back in lockdown. It started for me on April 1st, and there’s no end in sight. SupChina gives a good rundown of the situation, and this old Shanghainese man’s perspective is definitely worth a read. (Fortunately the issue with parents and children being separated has already been resolved a few days ago.)

Photo by Runen Liu

So now that the “news” is out of the way, I’ll just share a bit about how 2022 is different from 2020.

  • In 2020 we never feared running out of food. There were shortages (toilet paper, anyone?), but the deliveries never stopped.
  • In 2020 we could still go out, but we mostly chose not to. That’s because…
  • In 2020 we were actually afraid of the virus. We felt there was a chance it could kill us or someone we love. In 2022, no one is actually afraid of getting sick anymore.
  • In 2022 we are afraid of getting put on lockdown (which has now already happened), or worse, testing positive and getting separated from our families and sent off to an isolation center who knows where.
  • In 2020 we could still take our dogs out to relieve themselves.
  • In 2020 there was no testing (for most of the year?), but now it’s just happening all the time, over and over
  • In 2020 there was fear, but energy was high. In 2022 we’re just so COVID-weary…
  • In 2020 there was confidence and pride in the government’s ability to properly deal with the situation while the rest of the world floundered. In 2022 that confidence and pride still exists, but it’s quickly eroding and getting worse every day.

And now just a few tidbits about daily life under lockdown:

  • I’ve heard stories (and seen videos) of people running out of food. I personally don’t know anyone who has run out of food, but we’re all living under the constant “background” fear of running out. We’re checking all of the food delivery sites every day to see if any are accepting orders again or can finally deliver the food we ordered days ago. When the government provides a free bag of food (it’s happened to me once so far), we gleefully accept it and take a picture of exactly what we got, which we then share with all of our friends on WeChat.
  • Deliveries in many communities have stopped, simply because they’re no longer allowed to deliver to our doors or even our buildings, and it’s too much work for the building management to be constantly running piles of packages to every building. Only emergency packages or food get priority.
  • The kids continue with online schooling, of course. My kids are fine. In fact, my son (7yo) voluntarily washed his own dishes for the first time ever after breakfast today. (Win!)
  • Everyone is working from home, of course, but it’s hard for parents, with the kids in the house and the constant anxiety over COVID. We find ourselves checking 10 different WeChat groups every 10 minutes to see if there’s any news, if policies are changing, if anyone we know has tested positive, if any food deliveries will be resuming soon, if there are any new videos or memes, etc. etc. It’s hell on productivity, I can tell you!
  • One positive side effect is that we’ve all been thrown into WeChat groups with our neighbors, and are now actually communicating with them for the first time (albeit over WeChat)! Relations with neighbors in modern Shanghai are notoriously distant in most apartment buildings… it’s normal to not know or ever even talk to your next-door neighbor. And now the dog owners in our complex have a group, and each building has a group… we commiserate, we share info, we notify each other when the latest test results are out, and we even go in one “group buy” food purchases. This part is pretty cool.
  • BUT, even while under lockdown for so many days (this is day 7 for me), new positive cases are popping up (but nearly all without symptoms). There was one in my building. It’s mystifying and frustrating. The contagiousness of the omicron strain is just more powerful than all of these drastic measures being taken. That’s the most frustrating part… to see the same thing tried over and over again, expecting a different results. The refrain that we see again and again is, “using 2020 measures for the different 2022 situation.”

We’ll get through this. We’re not being ravaged by war, most of us are not actually getting sick. So we’re trying to count our blessings.


John Pasden

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


  1. Hi John,
    Thanks for your feedback regarding shanghai situation.
    Can I ask your position about the issue with parents and children being separated ? How on earth can Chinese people accept that ?
    Thanks in advance !

  2. […] Plus d’infos :– Article inspiré par Shanghai Lockdown so far (April 2022), Sinosplice […]

  3. Great summary of the situation right. Take care friends in Shanghai!

  4. […] last time I wrote about the April 2022 Shanghai Lockdown was April 7th, one week in (for me). It’s now April 20th and the lockdown continues, so it’s time for […]

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