Staff sleep at supermarket to keep Shanghai fed

STORY: Supermarket manager Zhang Wei wakes at 5 a.m. after a night in a sleeping bag on her office floor in Shanghai, to prepare the 3,000-plus orders of vegetables, meat and essentials the staff send out every day to locked-in residents.

Isolated from the outside world since April 1, Zhang and more than 40 staff been working long days to fill online orders from neighbouring housing compounds. Officials then deliver the goods.

"Basically, there is no time to rest, we are busy all day, even during meals if the neighbourhood committee members turn up to pick up orders or have a request, we will assist them immediately or solve whatever problems they may have.”

More than 1,000 grocery stores have stayed open during Shanghai's lockdown, but under a stringent “closed-loop" system.

Workers must live on site, test for the virus daily and disinfect the site and products every few hours.

Shanghai's caseload remains modest by global standards - with about 16,000 asymptomatic coronavirus cases and 2,500 symptomatic cases on Tuesday (April 19).

But the city has become a testing ground for China's COVID elimination strategy.

Zhang is determined to keep going, despite the long days.

"First of all, I will definitely stay until the end, no matter when the epidemic ends. I will stay in the supermarket to lead our staff. If I am allowed to go out, the first thing I want to do is to go back home to see my parents."

Each staff member has their own sleeping nook, with some sleeping in tents for privacy.

Carrefour has provided them with protective gear such as hazmat suits and doubled their wages.

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