torsdag 6. januar 2022

Xi'an: The messy cost of China's Covid lockdown playbook

With residents pleading for help while locked in their homes, and accounts of people being turned away from hospitals, the stories emerging from the Chinese city of Xi'an in recent days may sound all too familiar. All 13 million residents have been on lockdown the past two weeks and harsh measures have been put in place to battle an outbreak, with more 1,800 cases detected so far.

Local authorities are determined to snuff it out so that it will not mar the prestige of the Winter Olympics next month, and to avoid turning the upcoming Spring Festival - where millions will be moving across the country - into a super spreader event. But it has also shown how China's standard playbook of enforcing a hard lockdown combined with mass testing can exact a messy, harsh human cost. Since stricter rules came into force preventing people from leaving their homes to buy food, anxious residents have said on social media that their supplies have run low, with some resorting to bartering mobile phones for food.