Shanghai locals scream over converted COVID homes

STORY: Desperate screams on the streets of Shanghai – as residents protest the prospect of having COVID-19 isolation facilities so close to their home.

In a video obtained by Reuters, people wearing hazmat suits with the word "police" on their backs could be seen scuffling with other people outside a housing compound on Thursday.

The owners of the compound said authorities had converted five of its vacant buildings into isolation facilities and it had been advised a further nine buildings would be converted.

It said it had moved 39 tenants to rooms in other parts of the compound and had offered compensation to them.

But still, locals are furious. They say they’re worried about being put at increased risk of infection.

“All of us here are residents who abide by the law. We want to do something for the country. (flash) But now you want to place infected patients with high transmissibility rates less than 20 meters away from some residential areas, what do you want us, the common folk, to do?”

Shanghai has become the epicenter of China's largest outbreak since the virus was first identified, recording more than 300,000 COVID infections since March.

And while the Chinese public have been largely supportive of the country's zero-COVID policy, their patience seems to be wearing thin as the highly contagious O-micron variant emerges in China, triggering curbs that have brought food shortages, family separations, lost wages and economic pain.

In locked-down Shanghai, many streets are empty, with storefronts closed.

Under China's zero-COVID policy, everyone who tests positive must quarantine at designated sites and the neighbors are asked to isolate in their homes for 14 days.

Some residents have expressed frustration on social media over the difficulties in getting food and poor conditions at central quarantine facilities.

Footage provided to Reuters on Thursday by an occupant of a facility showed people crammed into what looked like an office building.

The person who filmed the video, who declined to be identified, said there were at least 200 people there including young children... adding there were no showers and just four shared toilets.