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Trapped after Lockdown

Johnny Man | China

When I came to Ginny’s apartment, she already packed most of her luggage. Being confined at home for nearly three months, she quitted her job, intended to return to her hometown in Henan for a break.

Omicron cases were found in Ginny’s compound even in the early March, she was forced to stay home since then. Even though she said she didn’t feel too anxious psychologically, how her body reciprocated gave a different answer. She kept losing larger amounts of hair than ever, and couldn’t stay asleep beyond 4 am everyday even if she slept pretty late.

She was kept company by two cats during lockdown, Huzi and Taobao. While there was a time food shortage being the major problem for everyone in Shanghai, Huzi and Taobao also suffered from cat food shortage, Ginny would share her chicken breast with them. But she was not that lucky herself, the food supplies she received from the government included rotten vegetables, molded canned food and the infamous pork with pig nipples.

On April 1st, 2022, given the situation of widespreading omicron, Shanghai decided to launch a citywide lockdown, the mega city stopped functioning in no time. After a two-month harshest lockdown in history, Shanghai claimed reopening on June 1st, all aspects of life are slowly going back to normal, yet some people are still suffering from anxiety and stress caused by what happened in the last two months, having difficulty moving on. And with the strict zero covid policy, everyone in this mega city is still on the verge of suffering from abrupt lockdown again if new cases were reported. With the depression and pain caused by the two-month lockdown and the fear of going through it again makes a number of people in Shanghai in a subtle status of being set free physically, yet still trapped psychologically in some sorts of mental lockdown. Here are the portraits and stories of 8 people in Shanghai who share the subtle feelings.

Entering the third year of pandemic since covid first broke out in China in 2019, most countries around the world have chosen to ease their policies on covid, since symptoms of omericon appear milder and valid vaccines are adapted in a larger scale, both makes omicron less fatal and terrifying, which indicates living with covid has became feasible and the gradual recovery in all aspects of life is happening.

Meanwhile, on the very contrary, China has decided to tighten its already strict zero-covid policy when increasing cases occurred in Shanghai in March this year. As a mega cosmopolitan city, an unexpected total lockdown was forced and the whole city suddenly stopped functioning since the end of March, more than 25 million residents were stuck at home or wherever that's indoor.

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