China’s financial hub of Shanghai launched a two-stage lockdown of its 26 million residents on Monday (March 28), closing bridges and tunnels, and restricting highway traffic in a scramble to contain surging COVID-19 cases.
The snap lockdown, announced by Shanghai’s city government on Sunday, will split the city in two roughly along the Huangpu River for nine days to allow for “staggered” testing. It is the biggest COVID-related disruption to hit the city.
While residents east of the Huangpu were confined to their homes, those in the west stockpiled groceries and other essential goods as they prepared for a similar fate starting on April 1, with delivery services overwhelmed and supermarkets running low on supplies.
“When I went upstairs (second floor of the wet market), there was nothing left there. Tell me, what shall I do for next few days,” 66-year-old Shanghai resident Li Guofeng said.
The lockdown order marks a turnaround for Shanghai’s authorities, which as late as Saturday (March 26) denied the city would be locked down as it pursued a more piecemeal “slicing and gridding” approach to try to rein in infections.