State Department orders non-emergency personnel to leave Shanghai
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The US State Department on Monday ordered non-emergency US government workers to leave Shanghai due to China’s zero-tolerance of surging COVID-19 Omicron cases, its imposing of harsh central lockdowns, and its separating positive-tested children from their parents, Reuters reports.
The State Department said in a statement last week that it had raised concerns about China’s recent stringent COVID-19 protocols, Reuters reports. The Department’s intervention angered Chinese officials, who expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the US intervention and said there was no cause for concern. In a daily briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the US should “stop political manipulation under the pretext of the epidemic, and stop smearing China”, Reuters reports.
However, Shanghai lockdowns have sparked protests amid reports of food shortages, deaths of elderly patients left alone in hospitals, and children being separated from parents, Forbes reports.
On Friday the State Department issued an advisory that workers could leave voluntarily, in light of fears of arbitrary enforcement of the restrictions. That advisory changed to a mandate on Monday for reasons that were not yet clear.
In any event, Beijing said Monday it is easing restrictions, although the number of Omicron cases is rising.
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