(RoyalPatriot.com )- On Tuesday, Chinese officials extended Shanghai’s lockdown to cover the entire population of 26 million people, despite growing anger over the existing quarantine rules in a city with only 268 symptomatic daily COVID cases.
The government widened the lockdown to eastern parts of Shanghai and extended the restrictions in western districts that were set to expire on Tuesday.
The broader lockdowns came after testing showed asymptomatic COVID cases surged to more than 13,000. However, symptomatic cases have been low, falling from 425 on Sunday to only 268 on Monday.
Residents of Shanghai have been sharing comments and videos across social media expressing their anger and frustration with the blanket lockdown, but authorities show no sign of easing them.
Throughout China, government mandates under its “Zero COVID” policy require anyone with a positive COVID test, along with their close contacts, be taken away for quarantine regardless of the severity of their symptoms.
As of March 26, at least 305 infected children under the age of six, the majority of whom were asymptomatic, have been placed in government quarantine centers, according to Shanghai health officials.
Wu Qianyu, an official with the municipal health commission told reporters on Monday that the city’s COVID prevention and control are at a critical stage and Shanghai must “adhere to the general policy of dynamic clearance without hesitation.”
Shanghai’s quarantine policy of separating children from parents has been harshly criticized. However, Wu would not comment on the uproar over family separations, saying only that children who tested positive had to be kept separated.
A temporary treatment center with 1,000 beds was set up at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. This center would treat both parents and children.
Shanghai residents had organized an online petition on the WeChat messaging app calling for asymptomatic children to be permitted to isolate at home. However, the petition disappeared from WeChat after about 1,000 people had signed it.
About twenty-three cities in China are under either partial or total lockdown, affecting an estimated 193 million people.