Apr 12, 2022 - World

Shanghai eases COVID lockdowns amid food crisis

Picture of health workers in Shanghai wearing PPE
Health workers wearing personal protective equipment stand next to the entrance of a neighborhood during a COVID-19 lockdown in the Jing'an district in Shanghai on April 12, 2022. Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Shanghai officials eased their two-week COVID-19 shutdown by letting some city residents leave their homes, following videos that went viral showing how people were running out of food.

State of play: Officials said some pharmacies and markets would be allowed to open, and approximately 6.6 million people — of the 25 million city residents — would be allowed out of their homes, AP reports.

  • Starting Tuesday, residents who live in areas where there haven't been cases for two weeks will be allowed to go outside. Officials said people should still consider staying home when possible, but they'll be allowed to visit areas without new infections.
  • AP noted that the people who live in such areas amount to about 6.6 million residents.

Catch up fast: "Shanghai residents across the city are scrambling for food, as empty grocery shelves, unreliable government provisions, and strained food delivery services make it hard to secure enough to eat," Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian writes.

  • The Shanghai government has ordered the closure of businesses in order for people to stay home, but now residents are scrambling to access food and medicine.
  • Videos show drones flying over residential areas, broadcasting to residents to stay in their homes.

Zoom out: While China's case numbers remain relatively low, Chinese President Xi Jinping has suggested that the country should continue its zero-COVID policy, so local authorities feel pressured to eliminate virus outbreaks at all costs.

Go deeper: Shanghai lockdown: A modern city starves

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