While Shanghai continues its lockdown and massive PCR testing campaign as COVID-19 surges through the city, a CDC expert’s complaint about chaotic PCR test reports that has confused people was recently exposed online. Shanghai CDC issued a notice demanding staff answer public inquiries “in line with the policy.”
There have been complaints about the conflicting PCR test results on Chinese social media because people receive a negative test result on their cell phones but then receive a positive test result from the CDC.
Shanghai adopted the Healthcare Cloud app as its integrated Internet and Healthcare services platform. Locals register through the app for a PCR test and receive the test result on their cell phones. However, many people received a negative test notice via the app but still were then notified by CDC that they had tested positive and were thus subject to quarantine.
Complaints have flooded the Shanghai CDC hotline.
A recent recording of a CDC expert responding to a caller revealed how the app has been problematic, how overloaded health workers have been stymied by a lack of transparency in pandemic prevention, and how the pandemic has become a political issue.
The Test Negative Is Fake
In the recording, the expert said, “We have received hundreds of calls every day, but our jobs are epidemiological investigations. We can’t solve your problem.”
She said, “Let me tell you the facts: There’s no ward, the quarantine sites are filled, and there’s no ambulance.”
A male was heard complaining, “But we have no way to address our issue, even Weibo is blocked.”
The expert said, “I have brought this up too many times; as an expert, I have suggested that the mild to no symptom patients stay at home. Does anyone listen? No!”
She continued, “Let me reiterate, do not bother checking your health cloud, it’s all a negative result. Only we will notify you when you have tested positive.”
The caller responded, “So what we see is all fake?”
She said, “That’s right.”
In the recording, the expert encouraged leakage of the recording.
A Pandemic Turns Political
The expert explained that she had complained to her leader that CDC staff should not be contacting people about their testing positive while people have received a negative test message on the app. It has only exhausted the staff at the CDC and confused the public.
She said, “We, as the professionals, are pushed to the brink of collapse by the situation. This pandemic has become a political issue that’s consuming so much manpower, resources, and money, just to solve this flu-like disease. What other country do you think is doing this kind of epidemic prevention now?”
The expert also suggested to the caller, “The quarantine site is not up to standard, and there’s no medical service at the site. If you are forced to go to the isolation ward, ask them for proof of a positive test result before they can enforce it. Let me tell you, they won’t have it.”
After the recording was leaked, multiple online articles confirmed that the Shanghai CDC expert was Zhu Weiping, director of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Section of Shanghai Pudong New Area CDC.
According to the Chinese article, her comments drew criticism from those who support the communist regime, calling it a serious political incident—an advocate of “coexistence with the virus,” an aggressive attack on the party, and sabotaging and shaking the anti-epidemic deployment. Many netizens have supported her saying “protect Zhu Weiping.”
The leaked recording was soon deleted from the Chinese Internet.
At the same time, the Shanghai CDC issued a notice to relevant departments demanding the hotline to be answered only by trained staff, and answers should be provided only in line with the current policy.
On March 28, Shanghai imposed a two-stage lockdown of four days, first for the eastern side of the city, and then the western side of the city, divided by the Huangpu River, with two rounds of nucleic acid tests, until April 5.
Unfortunately, the city decided on April 4 to extend the lockdown with no known date to lift the restriction that affects more than 26 million people in the city.
Mary Hong contributed to this report.