In Shanghai, lockdown blues make way for COVID testing gripes

STORY: A two-month COVID-19 lockdown is largely over in Shanghai.

But relief is quickly giving way to frustration with residents now facing hours waiting in line for virus tests and the negative results they must show to be allowed to enter public spaces.

Citizens are required to have proof they've taken a COVID test within the last 72 hours in order to enter areas like malls and offices - or even to use subways and buses.

Authorities have built 15,000 testing sites and trained thousands of workers to swab throats.

But long queues appeared on Wednesday and Thursday, amid early summer heat of up to 31 degrees Celsius.

This Shanghai resident says “It is okay as we can choose the testing locations. Yesterday when I went to work, there was a spot with not many people. But there are long queues at most of the spots. Someone complained that they had to wait for hours yesterday.''

This video obtained by Reuters shows residents of a large compound arguing with officials as they remained under a strict lockdown on Thursday…

despite being told that two 'abnormal' test results amongst them this week were false positives and not positive cases of the virus.

Other Chinese cities including Beijing and Shenzhen have imposed similar testing requirements under a national zero-COVID policy that aims to cut off every infection chain.

Deep discontent has been sparked by Shanghai's stringent curbs.

But China has vowed to stick with its approach.

It says the zero-COVID policy is needed to save lives and prevent its healthcare system from being swamped, even as much of the world tries to return to normal.

That means COVID testing is becoming a feature of daily life: China's goal is to have testing sites within a 15 minute walk for everyone in large cities.

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