Shanghai public health authorities have told all hospitals and clinics across the city to reopen emergency wards after reports that people were being denied access to treatment during the citywide coronavirus lockdown. The order followed after several incidents that have provoked widespread anger amid tightened virus controls that have almost exhausted medical resources in China’s commercial and financial capital. People in Shanghai ‘take matters into their own hands’ to survive Covid lockdown “All hospitals and clinics across the city have been required to reopen their emergency wards to citizens,” Wu Qianyu, a senior official with the Shanghai health commission, said on Saturday. “A mechanism that connects the neighbourhoods with medical institutions has been set up in nearly all districts to facilitate medical treatment for the residents.” Her remarks were seen as an attempt to assure the city’s 25 million citizens that the municipal government would try to prevent further incidents of people being denied treatment. On March 23, a 49-year-old nurse who worked at Shanghai East Hospital died of asthma after she was turned away from her own hospital as a result of lockdown measures. Local residents expressed anger towards the hospital and urged government officials to lessen the impact of virus controls on people’s lives. Another resident said on Friday that her 64-year-old father had kidney disease and had gone five days without dialysis after Covid-19 cases were found at the hospital where he went for regular treatment. On the social media platform Weibo, she said she was scared to watch her father waiting to die, and pleaded for help from medical staff and government officials. Shanghai has reported 44,000 Covid-19 infections – most of them asymptomatic – since March 1. Shanghai lockdown puts pressure on China GDP growth, ‘uncertainties’ to come Most of the city’s 400 public hospitals and clinics have not been able to offer full and regular medical services since the outbreak erupted. They were often ordered to suspend operations when infections or close contacts with infected people were found. On Friday, only 17 of the city’s premier public hospitals were open, half the normal total, with senior executives saying that they could only offer emergency treatment because of a shortage of doctors and nurses. Hundreds of doctors and nurses have either been confined to their homes due to the lockdown or allocated to temporary hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients. Key medical devices were also in a severe short supply, the executives said. “Many doctors and nurses have already been exhausted as their health is also a concern now,” said one of the executives who asked not to be identified. “The government has to work out a better system to reasonably allocate medical resources as antivirus measures are heightened.” Wu Jinglei, head of Shanghai’s health commission, said on Thursday that the public health system had been doing its utmost to meet the medical demands of the people at a time when battling the virus was a priority. He admitted that there remained a big gap between demand and the services the authorities were able to offer. Shanghai is stepping up construction of temporary hospitals as quarantine sites for the Covid-19 patients. Chinese cleaner sleeps in public toilet in lockdown, cleans it for locals without loos Thousands of doctors and nurses have been assigned to treat coronavirus cases who either have no symptoms or very mild ones. Before March, the city had reported less than 400 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began in Wuhan in December 2019. By the middle of last month the local authorities were still insisting they would not implement a lockdown because of Shanghai’s importance to the national economy. But on Sunday evening, the municipality made a surprise about-face and said it would impose a phased lockdown. Pudong New Area, east of the Huangpu River, an area covering 1,200 sq km (465 sq mile) went into a four-day lockdown from March 28 to the morning of April 1, when similar restrictions began in Puxi, the area on the west side of the river. But the city government allowed only a tiny number of residential compounds and manufacturing sites to reopen in Pudong on Friday, meaning the entire metropolis is effectively locked down.