The striking images of Shanghai, the third largest city in the world, confined because of Covid-19 – Evening edition Ouest-France



The 26 million inhabitants of Shanghai, China, are now confined due to the multiplication of Covid-19 contaminations. This is what the deserted streets of the third most populated city on the planet look like, where no one can move around or go out freely.

The broad avenues which stretch at the foot of residential buildings are deserted. There is no one, either, in the streets that cross the business district and its huge towers of glass and steel. No vehicle drives on the major road interchanges, where several traffic lanes are entangled. These scenes take place in Shanghai, China, the third most populous city on the planet. Since Tuesday, April 5, 2022, this sprawling megalopolis has been confined, due to an increase in cases of Covid-19 contamination. These movement restrictions, gradually implemented in the municipality, have been extended to the city’s 26 million inhabitants. Here’s what it looks like on the spot.

26 million inhabitants screened

Aerial view of a confined residential area of ​​Shanghai, Tuesday, April 5. (Photo: Hector Retamal / AFP)
The streets of Shanghai emptied out. (Photo: STR/AFP)

To really take the measure of the impacts of this confinement, you have to see the city from the sky. These images, captured by a drone and published by the British daily The Guardianshow how the streets of the megalopolis have emptied.

How did we get here ? This confinement starts on Monday, March 28, 2022. At that time, the coronavirus epidemic rebounds due to the Omicron variant. Shanghai then became the epicenter of a new wave of infections affecting the whole of China, which began to accelerate in early March.

Read also: What do the very strict anti-Covid confinements look like in China?

The authorities first plan restrictions by sector: it is a question of confining the eastern part of the city for five days; then the western part for the same duration. The idea is to try to limit the impact of these measures, Shanghai being the economic capital of China.

Read also: Covid-19. What we know about the new Omicron variant discovered in Shanghai

Friday 1er April, the western part of the city is in turn confined, as planned. Only here it is: the next day, the town hall announces a more or less strict maintenance of containment measures in almost all of the eastern part of Shanghai. Almost all of it is now under glass.

The following Monday, April 4, the army and thousands of health workers are deployed in Shanghai: they carry out a massive screening campaign, during which the 26 million inhabitants must be tested.

“Frustration and anger”

Monday April 4, 2022. This medical worker directs residents who are queuing before being tested for coronavirus. (Photo: Aly Song/Reuters)
Distribution of food and basic necessities, Tuesday 5 April. (Photo: STR/AFP)
Shanghai’s business district, Friday, April 1. (Photo: Mark R. Cristino / EPA-EFE)

These measures have far-reaching consequences. Because in China, anyone who tests positive is isolated from uncontaminated people, specifies Agence France-Presse (AFP). Even asymptomatic ones. And even children. As a result, the youngest are separated from their parents, in the event of a positive test. Thousands of residents who tested positive have been locked up in rudimentary quarantine centres, Reuters reports.

Read also: Covid-19. In confined Shanghai, bankers sleep in the office to continue working

Strict confinement annoys: “The frustration and anger are palpable, on messages published on social networks” about containment, notes the Bloomberg news agency. And other residents denounce, on these same platforms, denounce food shortages.

Thanks to the very large-scale screening campaign, the authorities are seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases in the city. They therefore decide to extend the containment measures to all 26 million inhabitants on Tuesday April 5, says Reuters again.

Read also: Covid-19. Record contamination in China, a field hospital opens in Shanghai

The confinement of the megalopolis is symptomatic of the limits of the “zero Covid” strategy, still in force in China. This tactic consists, in essence, of eliminating the virus rather than trying to live with it, by putting in place strict measures as soon as cases of contamination appear in a given territory. From this “zero Covid” policy stems the containment put in place by Shanghai, a type of restriction abandoned in many other regions of the world.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here