The US has pulled all “non-essential” consulate employees from Shanghai while warning Americans not to travel to the major Chinese city because of the brutal lockdown that could leave them separated from their kids.
The US Department of State pulled the staffers Monday, a day before the quarantine appeared to be easing, with some of Shangai’s 25 million residents allowed to leave home Tuesday for the first time in two weeks.
The State Department had also updated its travel advisory Monday, suggesting Americans “reconsider” going to China because of “arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions.”
It gave a stronger “Do not travel” advisory for Hong Kong and Shanghai “due to COVID-19-related restrictions, including the risk of parents and children being separated.”
Travelers will have to “quarantine at a government-designated location for a minimum of 14 days,” during which they will get daily tests and be locked in rooms, the department warned.
Those testing positive will be forced into “a government-designated medical or other quarantine facility,” the advisory said.
“Standards of care, accommodations, testing, and treatments may differ considerably from standards in the United States,” it stated.
Even those allowed out of the two-week quarantine should expect “additional quarantines” and “movement and access restrictions, including access to medical services and public transportation.”
“In some cases, children in Hong Kong and the [People’s Republic of China] who test positive have been separated from their parents and kept in isolation until they meet local hospital discharge requirements.”
Shanghai abruptly closed businesses and ordered people to stay home on March 28 amid the biggest outbreak since the coronavirus was discovered in late 2019 in the central city of Wuhan.
Yet the vast majority have been completely asymptomatic, with just 998 of the 23,346 new cases — about 4% — listed in Shanghai by Monday night reporting any symptoms.
And of the 200,000 cases from the latest wave there, there has not been a single reported death.
Still, hazmat suit-wearing officials completely locked down China’s richest city, leaving desperate locals complaining about brutal conditions, including the lack of food and medicine.
However, videos online appeared to show some people finally allowed outside Tuesday, and the government said some markets and pharmacies would reopen.
About 6.6 million people can go outdoors, but some must stay in their own neighborhoods, the online news outlet The Paper reported, citing city officials.
A health official warned Shanghai doesn’t have the virus under control despite easing restrictions.
“The epidemic is in a period of rapid growth,” said Lei Zhenglong of the National Health Commission at a news conference. “Community transmission has not been effectively contained.”
A Foreign Ministry spokesman defended China’s handling of the outbreak and accused Washington of politicizing its evacuation.
With Post wires