The US State Department has ordered all non-emergency personnel stationed in Shanghai to leave the eastern Chinese city, which is struggling to cope with a growing surge of new COVID-19 cases.
Monday’s order comes three days after the State Department announced that non-emergency personnel can leave the consulate voluntarily.
“The change in our currency reflects our assessment that it is best to reduce the number of our employees and their families and scale down our operations as we deal with changing conditions on the ground,” the consulate said in a statement. Website of the US Embassy and Consulates in China.
Shanghai’s 26 million residents have been ordered to stay in their homes since early April, largely in response to a surge of new COVID-19 infections driven largely by the highly contagious Omron variant; Most of the more than 27,000 new locally transmitted cases reported in China on Monday came from the financial centre.
Complaints are rising online about the lack of fresh food, especially vegetables, closure of kirana stores and residents being unable to get food delivery through online apps due to the lockdown. Rising anger prompted citizens to shout through the open windows of their high-rise apartments on Saturday, which was captured on video and quickly went viral on social media.
City officials on Monday announced the easing of strict lockdown measures in an effort to quell growing outrage. Neighborhoods with no reported cases in the last 14 days will allow residents to leave their homes, while other communities will be allowed limited movement and others will remain under strict lockdown.
The success of new COVID-19 cases in China comes despite Beijing’s official “zero COVID” strategy, which aims to completely end the coronavirus outbreak on the mainland.
Some information for this report has been obtained from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.