Dutch expat describes life under Shanghai lockdown

STORY: "I think nobody really prepared for this long, and I think every household is running into a different problem..."

Dutch national Jaap Grolleman has been quarantined in a tiny flat in Shanghai with his partner for three weeks.

Recent positive COVID-19 cases among his neighbors means he faces at least another two weeks of isolation.

Grolleman has not been able to return home to the Netherlands for three years, and, although he expects an exodus of expats, he does not wish to join them.

"I'm sure a lot of expats will leave, there are WeChat groups going around and with tips (on) how to get a plane ticket or a taxi to the airport. So a lot of expats gonna leave. I don't have this plan but I just hope that China finds a good way to either coexist with this virus or to achieve zero-COVID."

Some residents complain that isolation orders are issued en masse for the sake of speed and efficiency, with little consideration for individual circumstances.

Grolleman says half of his residential compound of around 3,000 people have been affected by COVID-19 and this has resulted in him only spending 15 minutes outside his home since April 1.

Instead, he has been exercising by pacing in his 215 square foot apartment.

"There's positive cases in our compound all around, and also inside our building now, second floor, third floor, fifth floor. So it's a little bit nervous situation because first we risk the chance of infection, getting ill, but also maybe more extreme as getting removed from your house and (being) put into a quarantine centre."

To minimize the risk, Grolleman uses ropes to hoist supplies into his fourth floor apartment through the window.

Offering a glimmer of light, the city government said on its official WeChat account that infections were showing a "positive trend" and that life could return to normal soon as long as people stuck to strict rules to curb the spread of the virus.

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