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Anger mounts among Shanghai residents

CNA – China’s major financial hub of Shanghai reported more new COVID-19 related deaths, as residents vented their anger over a harsh lockdown and strict censorship online.

Shanghai’s full-city lockdown began at the start of April, though many people have been confined to their homes for much longer, and the stress began to tell on the residents.

The city, battling China’s biggest coronavirus outbreak so far, reported 12 new COVID-19 deaths on Friday, up from 11 a day before.

The patients who died had an average age of 88, the Shanghai government said. All had underlying health conditions, and none had been vaccinated.

On social media, netizens battled against censors overnight to share a six-minute video entitled The Voice of April, a montage of voices recorded over the course of the Shanghai outbreak. Panning across Shanghai’s silent skyscrapers, the video consists of residents complaining about the lack of food and medicine.

Residents rest at a temporary hospital to quarantine COVID-positive people in Shanghai, China. PHOTO: AP

All direct references to the film were removed from the Weibo microblogging service by yesterday morning, though some comments criticising the censorship survived.

Many were reminded of the anger that erupted on social media two years ago following the death from COVID-19 of Li Wenliang, a doctor reprimanded by police for sharing “false” information about a new SARS-like infectious disease in Wuhan in late 2019.

Despite the anger and frustrations among residents in Shanghai’s sealed off residential compounds, local officials maintain there will be no relaxation until new cases outside of quarantine areas have all been cleared.

“The more critical the period becomes, the more we need to grit our teeth and focus our strength,” Shanghai Mayor Gong Zheng was quoted as saying on Shanghai’s official government WeChat channel late on Friday.

The number of cases outside quarantine areas stood at 218 on Friday, down from 250 the previous day.

There were 20,634 new local asymptomatic infections in the city, rebounding from 15,698 on Thursday.