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Why Shanghai has done a U-turn on its ‘relaxed’ Covid approach

What's happening in Shanghai?

People in the city are confined to their homes, and most have to order in food and water and wait for government drop-offs of vegetables, meat and eggs.

Videos shared on social media show complaints by angry residents about food shortages and inadequate medical supplies.

It's Shanghai's first experience of a city-wide lockdown. Up till last month, it had tackled growing infection rates through smaller localised lockdowns.

This typically meant individual residential complexes, each housing several hundred people, were locked down - instead of the entire city. And for a while, it looked like this method was working.

Even when case numbers rose to nearly 1,800 in March 2021, Shanghai did not impose a full lockdown.

By comparison, Xi'an, which is home to nearly 13 million people, sealed the entire city after less than 100 cases in December 2021.

The city of Yuzhou, in Henan province, locked over 1.1 million people at home due to just three Covid cases.

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