I’ve written about Covid lockdowns in China, and the struggles people have had getting food. China’s zero Covid policy isn’t producing zero Covid now that the virus spreads so efficiently. And lockdowns aren’t being used as a bridge, to buy time for effective vaccines and treatments. They licensed but didn’t use the BioNTech vaccine, preferring home grown ones, and haven’t placed big orders of Paxlovid.
But China is where it is now, and has banned criticism of government Covid policy. Xi Jinping needs to keep dissent under control and disaster at bay until later this year, when he’s expected to be re-elected to an unprecedented third time at the Twentieth People’s Congress.
One face of the lockdown is what it’s like to travel, for those few people who can. Residents in a locked down city can’t simply go to the airport. They aren’t allowed to move freely. You have to have a Covid travel permit to cross districts. If someone in your building tests positive the whole building is locked down. And if you can get to the airport, the road to international departures has frequently been closed.
With capacity out of Shanghai down by two-thirds and passengers far more limited than that, Shanghai Pudong airport is a ghost town.
#Shanghai airport on a Friday night.
(pic sent from a friend) pic.twitter.com/fnELgccwsQ
— Denis Green (@Denisgreen10) May 6, 2022
Make no mistake, though, there are passengers at Shanghai Pudong.
Shanghai’s lockdown began on March 30.
“Passengers stranded at Shanghai Pudong Airport due to the epidemic, the longest one and a half months.” https://t.co/U0tyyG8KUL
— Hey, Dave! (@davegreenidge57) May 9, 2022
Asian flight crews normally attract a lot of attention from passengers. Even so these uniforms are eye-catching.
A Chinese international flight crew appeared at LAX, Los Angeles International Airport.
In that ordinary world, they were like a world joke! Ignorance shameless incompetence with Xijinping's evil political campaign.
#China #COVID19 #HumanRights#Shanghai#Xijinping pic.twitter.com/hZ1xwszoDU
— Mayan prophecy: The end of the world in 2012 (@ccwfuckccp) April 30, 2022
On Tuesday Rochester Hills, Michigan Mayor Bryan Barnett shared to social media about some of his family making it out of Shanghai. Not all of them, though. They passed along photos from their trip. Here’s crew from their trip:
Credit: Bryan Barnett
Bear in mind of course that the virus primarily spreads through aerosols rather than fomites. I’d bet they aren’t changing their gloves nearly enough in any case.
As long as there’s any contact with the outside world, and make no mistake these flights entail contact, there will be Covid entering China even if they’re able to stamp out current waves. China needs a plan for better vaccines and better treatments. Otherwise, while they may just squeak through the Party Congress, they’ll find themselves still vulnerable to Covid despite the sacrifices imposed on their people.