China Sends Military, Armed Police, and Health Workers to Shanghai Amid Its Worst Virus Outbreak

China Sends Military, Armed Police, and Health Workers to Shanghai Amid Its Worst Virus Outbreak
A worker holds up signs that say "Keep one meter distance" and "Do not crowd" as residents line up for mass COVID testing in a lockdown area in the Jingan district of western Shanghai, April 4, 2022. China has sent more than 10,000 health care workers from across the country to Shanghai, including 2,000 military medical staff, as China's largest city struggles to stamp out a rapidly spreading COVID-19 outbreak. (AP Photo/Chen Si)
Shawn Lin
Ellen Wan

Chinese authorities have sent health care workers from 15 different provinces, as well as armed police and special police officers, to Shanghai, to help the city combat the worst outreak of the CCP virus in China since the pandemic began. Vice Premier Sun Chunlan urged Shanghai residents to adhere to the zero-COVID approach and “achieve community zero-Covid in a week.”

China Central Television (CCTV) reported on April 4 that more than 38,000 medical personnel from 15 Chinese provinces have been dispatched to support Shanghai. A resident near Shanghai’s Hongqiao airport wrote in a social media post that he noticed frequent inbound flights landing at the airport. “I feel frightened at the thought that all the passengers on board are coming here to support our COVID fight,” he said.

Sun demanded COVID testing of all 26 million residents in Shanghai be completed within 36 hours, starting on April 4. She told the experts of the Shanghai Pandemic Control Team, “No household shall be left behind, not a single person shall miss the test.”

On April 3, the day before the arrival of health workers, more than 2,000 people from 7 medical units affiliated witth the Chinese army, navy, and joint logistics support force also rushed to Shanghai to provide support, according to Chinese state media.

Numerous Twitter videos posted by Chinese users captured the scenes of SWAT police and armed police arriving in Shanghai.

In one video, a large convoy of SWAT police in China's Shandong province is seen on a highway heading for Shanghai. Another video shows dozens of people in SWAT uniforms entering a residential complex in Shanghai, as concerned residents look on.

Shanghai was previously praised for its success in adopting the "precise prevention and control" strategy proposed by Dr. Zhang Wenhong, the former head of Shanghai’s pandemic control team.

After the recent outbreak, Shanghai authorities switched to “all-region static management,” another term for “citywide lockdown.” An insider had previously told The Epoch Times that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is now trying to avoid the word “lockdown” when it involves a first-tier city or a capital city, because it will severely hurt foreign investors’ confidence in China’s economy.

On April 4, China's, an online media outlet known as the country’s number one military portal, published an article stressing the central authorities' determination to persisting in the “zero-COVID” approach.

Independent writer Zhuge Mingyang believes that when even the Chinese military is called in to support the current pandemic control policy, “it reflects the severity and complexity of the struggle between different factions within the CCP."

Western Diplomats Concerned About 'Community zero-COVID'

“Community zero-COVID,” the term Sun used in her directive for Shanghai, is an expression the CCP invented during the lockdown of Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province, that began on Dec. 22, 2021 and ended on Jan. 24, 2022.

The city also underwent all-resident COVID-19 testing immediately after the lockdown began. All those who tested positive, and immediate close contacts and secondary contacts of diagnosed patients, were taken to locations outside Xi’an for quarantine. The communities inside Xi’an were then considered to have achieved “Zero COVID,” and this approach was named “community zero-COVID.”

In Shanghai, however, the situation is a lot more complicated. As China's largest city and an economic and financial center, Shanghai's population is more than double that of Xi'an, and the outbreak in Shanghai is more serious than the situation was in Xi'an in December last year. In addition, it is a metropolis with the largest concentration of expats in China. There are more than 70,000 foreign-funded enterprises, more than 800 multinational headquarters or regional headquarters, and more than 500 foreign-funded R&D centers. According to statistics from November 2020, approximately 215,000 foreigners work in Shanghai.

On March 31, the French Consulate General in Shanghai, on behalf of 22 EU member states  (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, as well as Norway and Switzerland) sent a letter to the Shanghai Municipal Government with six requirements, including: under no circumstances should parents and children be separated; asymptomatic or mild cases should be sent to "a specialized isolation environment with staff who can communicate in English," and those who have identified as having been close contacts but have not been infected should be allowed to self-quarantine and monitor health condition on their own at home; and when EU citizens need timely and effective emergency medical assistance, such service must be guaranteed.

Presently, Shanghai's quarantine rule stipulates that parents can accompany their children only if the parents are also infected.