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Shanghai lockdown social media footage shows health workers dressed in hazmat dragging people out of their homes

Shanghai: Videos of people being dragged from their homes by health workers in hazmat suits crossed Chinese social media late Sunday before being taken down on some platforms as the city’s intensive lockdown enters its seventh week.

The videos – which purported to show COVID-positive patients and their close contacts arguing with workers – come as the city tightens aspects of the lockdown despite a drop in new cases. People living in the same building with confirmed cases are now also at risk of being transported to designated quarantine facilities, according to residents and widely circulated social media posts. Previously, only people living in the same apartment or on the same floor of positive cases would likely be considered close contacts and placed in central quarantine.

The tightening of restrictions comes even as the city reported its fewest cases in more than six weeks, with 3,947 new infections on Sunday, down slightly from 3,975 on Saturday.

Social media posts that questioned the legality of forcibly evicting people from their homes and evacuating them to quarantine facilities, or seizing their keys to allow health workers to disinfect apartments, have been deleted.

Video still available appeared to show two “tall whites,” as the health care workers who enforce China’s lockdowns and COVID regulations are known, leading a woman kicking and screaming into a residential compound. Bloomberg News reporters have viewed the video but have been unable to verify when or where it was taken.

Another unverified video posted on WeChat shows a ‘tall white’ using a loudspeaker to warn residents to stay home, saying that if one person living in a building tests positive, everyone living in the same building will be considered close contacts and sent to central quarantine.

Residents were seen fighting with health workers in Shanghai last month. Credit:Twitter

Other videos showing workers in hazmat suits knocking on the door of an apartment and leading the occupants into quarantine have been deleted.

China’s COVID-zero policy requires that all cases and their close contacts be isolated in government facilities to quell transmission. The strategy was effective in nullifying COVID early in the pandemic, but is challenged by more transmissible variants like omicron.

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