Before getting off work last Tuesday, I was informed we have a close contact in our building and that we need to be locked down again. So I immediately bought some fresh food, and brought coffee & books from the office (as many things as I could carry), because although our compound says we just need to be locked down for two days, I’ve prepared myself for two weeks. Not just food, but also mentally. (The original sixty-day lockdown was also meant to last just four days, so trust in any kind of promise is absent.)
Prepared with non-perishables and elastomeric as recommended by Naomi Wu.
Then on Wednesday, the first full day of our ‘house arrest’, that promise of “Just two days” already changed into “You need to sign this otherwise you cannot get released”. Although the terms were pretty standard, it feels wrong and we weren’t told this at the start. It’s clawing your liberty away, bit by bit.
The form basically says “I’ll only go outside when necessary” (very ambiguous), and “if I do I’ll protect myself and not take public transport” (that’s OK, I can cycle to Suzhou). Also “I’ll do 7 days of testing” and “If I have fever (etc) I’ll have myself checked asap.”
Then on Thursday though, we were set free. But Shanghai is still a mess, and this episode again is quite telling for the situation in right now, with uncertainty about your basic freedom. WeChat and Twitter have videos of stabbings and fights, there’s the threat of a new city lockdown, empty shelves, photos of trash in our compound, “When is the PCR test?!?”, and +1000 messages about which street or mall is now closed or where a positive case or a close contact has been.
This message in our xiaoqu’s WeChat group summed it all up:
“Don’t look for conflict with others “// “The main thing is that these few months, most people can’t control their temper.”
Or more telling; a friend is moving back to her hometown. She had been locked down the full duration of April & May, and several days in March/June/July. All that time in her tiny room, all alone.
And every time I asked: “Are you ok? You sure?” to which the answer was: “Yeah, I’m pretty indoorsy (宅). I’m fine.”
Now the reason for leaving Shanghai: “I’m too stressed with all these lockdowns.”