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World: Dozens of COVID Deaths Unreported in China's Shanghai Lockdown: Report

Shanghai hospital pays the price for China's COVID response

  Shanghai hospital pays the price for China's COVID response BEIJING (AP) — A series of deaths at a hospital for elderly patients in Shanghai is underscoring the dangerous consequences of China's stubborn pursuit of a zero-COVID approach amid an escalating outbreak in the city of 26 million people. Multiple patients have died at the Shanghai Donghai Elderly Care hospital, relatives of patients told The Associated Press. They say their loved ones weren’t properly cared for after caretakers who came into contact with the virus were taken away to be quarantined, in adherence to the strict pandemic regulations, depleting the hospital of staff.

China could be underreporting several dozen COVID-19 deaths in hospitals and nursing homes in Shanghai, where tens of millions remain in lockdown, and where the last official fatality was recorded more than two years ago.

The BBC this week said at least 27 unvaccinated patients at a single hospital had their cause of death listed as "underlying health problems," according to official documents. It spoke to hospital staff and saw correspondence sent to relatives of the deceased throughout the current COVID outbreak, said its report on Saturday.

Shanghai's localized pandemic control measures were elevated to a citywide lockdown on March 27, but its infection figures have yet to peak in the latest wave caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Despite recording nearly 300,000 positive cases over the past month, fewer than 20 patients experienced serious symptoms, officials said.

Why China Sticks With Costly Lockdowns and 'Zero COVID'

  Why China Sticks With Costly Lockdowns and 'Zero COVID' After a more targeted approach failed to suppress Shanghai's recent COVID outbreak, the central government in Beijing came down hard on the city with its tried-and-tested playbook.Like many countries in the West, the United States has done away with most rules surrounding public health. Some argue the measures were never restrictive enough to be begin with. America's nearly 1 million COVID-19 deaths are now the go-to gibe in Beijing whenever Washington mentions the condition of human rights in China, where the death toll remains at a little more than 4,600.

The current surge in cases has also resulted in exactly zero deaths, according to official data. The city's last COVID fatality was reported on April 8, 2020, more than 24 months ago.

The BBC said there was "evidence of widespread infections among hundreds of patients in 12 other facilities" in Shanghai.

"One relative of a patient at another care home in Shanghai has told us that doctors and caregivers working there had informed her that everyone in the facility had tested positive," the report said. "It has capacity for around 300 patients."

The British broadcaster suggested the underreporting could be related to China's strict criteria for confirming COVID deaths, which require evidence of lung damage from pneumonia—confirmed by a scan—and possibly the absence of other underlying health conditions as well.

Shanghai Residents Scream From Windows, Get Drone Lockdown Warning: Videos

  Shanghai Residents Scream From Windows, Get Drone Lockdown Warning: Videos Chinese officials have received backlash for the policy as residents have said they've had to go without basic necessities including food. A video captured ahead of the lockdown last month showed residents fighting one another for food and supplies in a store."Local residents in Shanghai seen fighting over groceries as half of its 26 million residents are in lockdown, and other half entering lockdown soon," Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist, wrote on Twitter sharing the video.

As China's most populous city, home to some 25 million, remains overwhelmed by the virus, it was not immediately clear whether the reported deaths of senior residents would be retrospectively attributed to COVID.

China's National Health Commission didn't respond to Newsweek's request for comment before publication.

A worker wearing personal protective equipment walks on a street during a COVID-19 lockdown in Jing'an district, Shanghai, China, on April 12, 2022. A BBC report on April 16 said the city—now entering its fourth week of lockdown—could be underreporting dozens of COVID deaths among seniors patients in hospitals and nursing homes. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images © HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images A worker wearing personal protective equipment walks on a street during a COVID-19 lockdown in Jing'an district, Shanghai, China, on April 12, 2022. A BBC report on April 16 said the city—now entering its fourth week of lockdown—could be underreporting dozens of COVID deaths among seniors patients in hospitals and nursing homes. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

As of Sunday, the growing cluster in Shanghai still accounted for over 95 percent of all positive cases in the country. Although officials are announcing the very low number of critical cases and zero deaths each day, there is no sign the central government-mandated "zero-COVID" policy will be abandoned, in spite of the high costs to the economy and society.

US orders consular to leave Shanghai amid COVID outbreak

  US orders consular to leave Shanghai amid COVID outbreak BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. has ordered all non-emergency consular staff to leave Shanghai, which is under a tight lockdown to contain a COVID-19 surge. The State Department said the order is an upgrade from the “authorized” departure issued last week that made the decision voluntary. The order covers “non-emergency U.S. government employees and their family members from U.S. Consulate General Shanghai." In its late Monday announcement, the department said, “Our change in posture reflects our assessment that it is best for our employees and their families to be reduced in number and our operations to be scaled down as we deal with the changing circumstances on the ground.

Beijing's political strategy to maintain social stability throughout the pandemic is receive pushback in its wealthiest city and largest shipping hub. Clashes have erupted within enclosed communities, where residents are either locked down in their apartments and short on supplies, or hauled off to poorly equipped centralized quarantine facilities.

Footage of social grievances including neighborhood demonstrations are being censored and deleted from Chinese social media sites on an hourly basis. Locals are also being encouraged not to speak to foreign press about the situation on the ground, according to the BBC's China correspondent Stephen McDonell.

"Police in #Shanghai have been contacting residents and warning them not to speak to the foreign media about the city's #Covid situation saying this is a violation of laws and regulations. Of course it isn't but, in #China, the law is what the Party wants it to be," McDonell tweeted on Sunday.

"Officials in #Shanghai must know that the Party's reputation amongst ordinary people is being trashed in that city because of the #Covid lockdown," he wrote.

Woman Shares 'Horrific' Day of Shanghai's COVID Lockdown in Viral Clip

  Woman Shares 'Horrific' Day of Shanghai's COVID Lockdown in Viral Clip The TikToker began documenting her experience when the lockdown went into effect on March 28 due to the Omicron variant.TikToker @its__rochelle, whose first name is Rochelle, lives in Shanghai, China, and at the end of March began posting about the lockdown that went into effect on March 28—the first since the start of the pandemic, Newsweek previously reported.

The Omicron wave has spread to the neighboring province of Jiangsu as well as the manufacturing hub of Guangzhou province in the south. Public health restrictions are already in place in cities and districts where positive cases have been discovered.

Reporting the city's latest COVID situation on April 17, the Shanghai health commission wrote: "We must unswervingly implement the general guidance of 'dynamic zero COVID' and make every effort to promote the strategy of zero COVID in society."

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Shanghai lockdown tests resilience of China's 'Zero-COVID' strategy .
Shanghai's Covid-19 infections are continuing to to escalate, despite a strict lockdown of more than 25 million residents. Cases in Shanghai surged on Wednesday to another record high of 26,330, of which just 1,190 were symptomatic. There is no end in sight to the lockdown, despite there being no official deaths reported.

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