SHANGHAI: While a two-month COVID-19 lockdown is all but over in Shanghai, residents’ relief is quickly giving way to frustration that they now face hours waiting in line for virus tests and the negative results they must show to be allowed to enter public spaces.
China’s business and commercial hub lifted lockdowns for most of its 25 million residents on Wednesday (Jun 1). But citizens are required to have proof that they have taken a COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours in order to enter areas like malls and offices – or even to use subways and buses.
Authorities have built 15,000 testing sites and trained thousands of workers to swab throats. Still, long, snaking queues amid early summer heat of up to 31 degrees Celsius became a common sight on Wednesday and Thursday, with some people saying that they queued for two hours.
One person posted a picture on social media of a sign at a booth warning of a 4.5-hour wait. The hashtag “Shanghai PCR testing” garnered 190 million views on Weibo on Thursday.
“I left the lockdown nightmare only to enter the 72-hour PCR testing nightmare,” said one Shanghai resident, declining to provide her name.
“It is troublesome, but we have no choice,” said another, named Xu Xiaojun. “This is for everyone’s good.”
Other Chinese cities including Beijing and Shenzhen have imposed similar requirements under a national zero-COVID policy that aims to cut off every infection chain.