Chinese ask neighbors for help to overcome lockdown and Covid wave in Shanghai

Washington Post – Four days in lockdown Corona Virus in your area ShanghaiDing Tingting started to worry about the old man who was living alone in the apartment below. I knocked on his door and found his food supply was dwindling and he didn’t know how to buy more online.

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Ding helped him buy food, but he also began to think of the many elderly people living alone in his neighborhood. Using the Chinese messaging app WeChat, she and her friends have created groups to connect people in need with nearby volunteers who can get food and medicine.

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When a woman’s father-in-law suddenly collapsed, a network of volunteers identified a neighbor with a blood pressure monitor and made sure it was delivered quickly. “Life cannot be suspended because of the lockdown,” said Ding, a 25-year-old art curator.

In his relentless efforts to end the virus, he has China It relied on hundreds of thousands of lower-ranking Party officials on neighborhood committees to organize mass testing and coordinate transportation to hospitals and isolation facilities. Authorities have distributed special permits for patients to bring in medicines and other necessities during the lockdown.

A woman at a residence in Shanghai during the lockdown in Jing'an District on April 23
A woman at a residence in Shanghai during the lockdown in Jing’an District on April 23 take photo: Ritamal Hector / AFP

But Shanghai’s recent surge has overshadowed its 50,000 neighborhood officials, leaving residents struggling to find food, medical care and even pet care. Angry and frustrated, some took matters into their own hands, offering to help those in need when the CCP was unable or unwilling, and to test its legitimacy in times of crisis.

“One of the claims of the Chinese Communist Party is that it alone can provide basics and livelihoods for all people in China,” said Victor Shih, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. He explains that for Shanghai residents now trying to get hold of food and other resources, trust in these claims is likely to be low.

In Shanghai, where one in three people is over 60, residents are particularly concerned about forgetting about the elderly. Many people don’t use smartphones and don’t use WeChat or any of the dozens of online shopping apps in China that make modern life convenient. Unable to leave their homes, they were cut off from everyday life.

“I really see the struggle of some older people,” said Danley Chou, who is part of an ad hoc group of volunteers in her upscale downtown neighborhood. The group takes turns helping deliver shipments from the lobby to the residents’ doors.

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During one of his bouts, Chu said he knocked on the door of an old man who seemed to be struggling to speak. He asked to see the man’s phone number and reached out to his daughter who lives in another part of town.

Zhou hooked up his daughter to several WeChat groups in the building, where neighbors were buying food and arranging deliveries. “There are a lot of old people living alone in the building,” Chu said. “It took me a while to figure out the system.”

Among the tens of thousands of new volunteers in Shanghai, a sense of community has grown in a sprawling city with more residents than any other city in China, where most are accustomed to anonymity. Many said that before the outbreak they were more familiar with their peers than their neighbours.

Yvonne Mao, a 31-year-old project manager at a tech company in Shanghai, didn’t bother getting to know her neighbors before the Ômicron formula began invading her city. After someone in her compound tested positive for the virus, she panicked and asked for help filling out a form she found online dedicated to connecting people with volunteers in every district of Shanghai.

Mao soon got a call from a middle-aged volunteer who was living above her in her building, who said he wanted to see how things went. After that experience, she signed up to help distribute food and other necessities to other neighbors. “I feel lonely and I am getting closer to my neighbours,” Mao said.

Shanghai's Covid quarantine worker exhausted as cases surge in Chinese city
Shanghai’s Covid quarantine worker exhausted as cases surge in Chinese city take photo: The New York Times / The New York Times

Volunteers have also become an essential resource for hundreds of thousands of people who have been sent to isolation facilities after testing positive, and suddenly forced to leave their daily lives behind with little preparation.

When a video of a corgi being beaten up by health care workers in white went viral, animal rights volunteers got to work.

According to government media reports, the owner left the dog on the street after failing to find a carer for the animal before sending it to a quarantine facility. An employee later admitted that the beating was wrong, but several pet owners were angry.

Volunteers distributed online forms to residents to apply for pet care in city neighborhoods. These groups helped move pets to nursing homes or alternative care when owners tested positive and gave advice on how to walk dogs on the porch.

However, even these small acts of kindness faced some opposition from the neighborhood authorities.

Akiko Lee, an animal rights group volunteer, helped find the home of a white-haired, blue-eyed cat named Guaiguai when her owner called her in a panic. Locate me a high school student who lived in the same apartment complex and could go to the apartment to get the cat. “We encountered a lot of resistance in the process,” said Lee, 28.

In the suburb of Baoshan, north of Shanghai, Hora Lin, an 18-year-old schoolgirl, took in a cat named Drumstick after its owner tested positive for the virus. Lynn said it was the least she could do. “I don’t expect to be able to solve the problem; I just want to help as much as I can.”]

Some people, rather than volunteering, simply offer informal ways to relieve the stress of daily life in confinement in Shanghai, collecting helpful information and guides online, and offering refreshment to weary neighbors or morale-boosting videos.

In a neighborhood near Mao’s house, another volunteer, Perla Shi, prepares free coffee every morning for her neighbors in her small kitchen. She takes orders daily and delivers them in junk food mugs that she was able to buy at a nearby grocery store.

She was moved to do something after several acts of kindness by her neighbours: one offered to look after her cat, Sexy when Shea, 35, tested positive. Another put fresh, homemade bread on her doorstep. One-third left a full carton of yogurt.

“Everyone was under-resourced, but they still fed me from time to time,” Shi said. “I thought, my God, I needed to do something for them, too.”

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