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Neighborhood Covid Enforcers Keep Large Parts of Shanghai in Lockdown

  • Neighborhood committees limit outings as virus still spreads
  • Time, distance rules crimp benefits of reopening in many areas
A road block during a scheduled lockdown break in Shanghai on May 23.

A road block during a scheduled lockdown break in Shanghai on May 23.

Photographer: Hu Chengwei/Getty Images
Updated on

Shanghai has been officially easing a lockdown that kept its 25 million residents home-bound for nearly two months following a decline in Covid-19 cases, but an army of zealous grassroots volunteers who police housing compounds are still banning many people from going outside.

Neighborhood committees around the city are imposing strict and arbitrary curbs on movement, including limits on who can leave their apartment blocks and for how long -- amid concerns about a rebound in cases. The moves are seeing simmering frustrations boil over as people push for freedoms that top city officials have promised, while local cadres fear repercussions if residents return home with an infection.