OFWs in lockdown Shanghai seek help, Consulate also locked in

FIlipino workers in Shanghai are seeking help from the draconian measures of the Chinese government in implementing a citywide lockdown in China’s major financial hub.

China has registered 3,529 new Covid-19 cases Sunday and 22,626 new asymptomatic cases Saturday, most of which are in Shanghai. With a zero-tolerance approach to pandemic management, Shanghai is now on its third week of lockdown and many Chinese locals and foreigners are angry at the lack of access to food, medicine and other essential supplies that come with the rigid control of people’s movement.

There are 4,000 Filipinos living and working in Shanghai.

“I’ve been living here in Shanghai for 11 years and this has been my second home. It’s sad because this is not the Shanghai that I used to know,” Cristina (not her real name), a 38-year old OFW, told Business Mirror.

Cristina said was afraid that the local health authorities would forcibly quarantine her because she was told by the community leader in the residential complex where she lives that she got tested positive for Covid-19. 

“I’m asymptomatic and I only live by myself here, I have my own toilet. I don’t want to be placed in a quarantine facility because some of my friends who’ve been there said it is bad out there. There’s no shower, no social distancing and we all have to wear masks 24/7,” she shared.

“An Italian friend of mine got tested negative four times and still, he’s not allowed to go out of the quarantine,” added the Filipina expat who works as a marketing specialist of a school in Shanghai.

She said local health staff came knocking at her door Saturday and for a while, she was scared, for fear that she would be taken forcibly to the quarantine facility. It turned out that she needed to be re-swabbed to reconfirm the positive result on her. “They came knocking at the door and they were shouting ‘Come out now, come out now!’ And after a while, I came out and they swabbed my nose, it was really abrasive.  I know health workers are tired but still, I felt they could have done this with less pressure.”

When she sought help at the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai, a staff member called and asked about her condition. However, she said, the staff said there’s “not much that they can do” because they, too, are on lockdown.

Business Mirror sought to confirm this with Consul General Josel Ignacio.

“It’s a tough lockdown. We’ve been attending to a deluge of such queries or requests for aid. We do our best to help and we make sure to reply to each one,” Ignacio said.

“We’re also locked down in our respective homes and team members are also having their own supply issues and are now rationing what they have. We’re looking at (hoping for) some easing in May, but things are fluid,” he added.

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