The US State Department has ordered all non-essential staff at the consulate in the Chinese city of Shanghai to leave town altogether “due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the impact of restrictions related to the People's Republic of China's response.”
US authorities have also expressed their concern for the safety and well-being of U.S. citizens to officials of the People's Republic of China, a country that applies a zero Covid policy through rigid confinement, mass testing, and travel restrictions.
Shanghai, the country's economic capital, has implemented some of the toughest restrictions since the virus emerged in Wuhan in 2019, with harsh lockdowns and people either unable to buy food and supplies or simply sent to quarantine centers. The megacity reported more than 23,000 new infections Tuesday.
The State Department said it was in the best interest of employees and their families to reduce numbers and de-escalate operations as we deal with changing circumstances on the ground.
Videos have gone viral on social media of people in Shanghai crying out for food from the windows of their homes after the Chinese government decreed a total quarantine. People may only go out once a day to collect the food supplied by the state.
In order to contain the spread of the virus, the government has increased testing and separated families with infected persons, and citizens have become increasingly dissatisfied, while food shortages have increased.
Western analysts fear people in Shanghai will not be able to endure much longer cooped up in their homes and looting will most likely ensue sooner or later.