China uses robots and drones to control Shanghai population during lockdown

A maioria dos moradores de Xangai só pode sair de casa para as sessões de testagem em massa. A cidade está em lockdown desde 1.º de abril.

Most Shanghai residents are only allowed to leave their homes for mass testing sessions. The city has been in lockdown since April 1st.| Photo: Alex Plavevski/EFE/EPA

Shanghai residents who are entering the third week of )lockdown2022, are being “educated” by robots and guarded by drones, as part of the Chinese communist government’s strategy to maintain its policy of “ Covid zero”, locking the residents of entire cities in an attempt to control contagions. Shanghai is the most populous city in China, with 25 millions of inhabitants, and since the beginning of March it has registered 25 a thousand cases of coronavirus. One of the world’s biggest financial centers suddenly turned into a ghost town on April 1st; on the day 12, a few neighborhoods with no record of new cases had the restrictions are reduced, but most of the city remains in strict quarantine.

One A four-legged robot dubbed the “Preserved Egg” in reference to the Chinese dish, strolls through the streets of Shanghai’s neighborhoods with a megaphone strapped to its frame, delivering advice such as “wear a mask”, “check your temperature” and “wash the hands”. The robot dog even entered apartment buildings on occasions when mass night tests were carried out, calling on residents to collect samples.

Wang Yushuo, the robot operator, spoke to the newspaper Financial Times 2022 and stated that “Egg Preserved” does three to four “walks” daily, depending on battery life. But the robot dog is not the only piece of equipment used by the Chinese government to keep Shanghai residents at home. In addition to the usual cameras that normally monitor citizens, drones have been used to monitor compliance with the

lockdown and warn the population.

The lockdown 2022 was adopted without warning and most Shanghai residents had no way to prepare by stocking up on food and other necessities. Most markets are closed, forcing the use of delivery apps – as few supplies run out quickly once they are replenished, Chinese with programming skills have come to develop homemade codes to monitor stocks and make purchases as soon as food appears in stores. . One of them said that in 12 days of lockdown2022, all he received from the municipal government was a bag with seven potatoes , seven onions, four tomatoes, a cabbage, three radishes and a piece of meat, all for six people.

Protests against food shortages have already taken place in parts of the city; during one of them, in the Jiuting neighborhood, a police drone flew over the protesters: “Do not cause problems or gather illegally, or you will be legally held responsible”, the machine said, according to the account of a resident of the area to

Financial Times . Another city resident heard by the newspaper started to keep the curtains closed after seeing a drone flying near the building where he lives. Shanghai residents told the newspaper Washington Post that many question the severity of the measures, as most cases are not serious, and many residents are more afraid of being sent to field hospitals or improvised quarantine centers than of the virus itself.

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