China's 'Dystopian' COVID Lockdown 'Mesmerizing' to Watch in New Video

The current COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai has been dubbed both "dystopian" and "mesmerizing" as new videos posted online show the city's empty streets and busy isolation centers.

The highly contagious Omicron variant has forced many cities in China to go into lockdown to combat recent surges, and China's financial hub entered its first citywide lockdown since the start of the pandemic on Monday.

Half of the city's 26 million residents went into an intensive lockdown at the start of the week, with the other half initially scheduled to lockdown on Friday, but Shanghai authorities began placing some areas of the second group on lockdown a few days early.

Now, with most of the city on mandatory lockdown, videos posted on Twitter by Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist, showed the city's empty streets and some of the accommodations the city made for residents.

"I swear," Feigl-Ding wrote, "everything is so dystopian weird but mesmerizing to watch in Shanghai's lockdown."

One video gives an inside look at Shanghai's lockdown isolation center in Pudong, where' Feigl-Ding said, "all local positive cases isolate."

The video shows a massive indoor space with lots of beds, and COVID-positive patients are treated by workers in hazmat suits.

In another tweet, Feigl-Ding shared a video of drone footage flying over areas of Shanghai, calling it a "Ghost town."

"Shanghai in an eerie quiet lockdown. With 26 million official residents*, Shanghai is one of the most populated cities on Earth. It looks like a movie—but it's real," he wrote.

Feigl-Ding posted another video on Tuesday in which people were fighting over groceries and supplies before the lockdown began, and empty shelves in stores were documented as a result of the "notoriously cutthroat" locals.

According to China CDC, the city reported 329 new domestic cases on Tuesday.

While the lockdowns were only planned for five-day intervals, mass testing underway has shown that some areas of the city have higher surges in asymptomatic infections and authorities may be forced to extend the lockdowns, reported the South China Morning Post.

Secretary-general of the Shanghai municipal government, Ma Chunlei, told reporters on Thursday that the extended lockdowns will be based on expert opinions, the Post reported.

"We will work out a plan to lift the lockdown in a scientific and orderly manner," Chunlei said. "As Puxi goes into lockdown, the area with an even larger population of 16 million and a bigger geographic size, the situation will become more complicated. We will do our utmost to speed up screening for [COVID-19] cases."

The Post stated that Shanghai recorded about 32,000 COVID-19 cases since March 1.

Newsweek reached out to the China CDC for additional comment.

New videos posted online show Shanghai's lockdown as "mesmerizing" and "dystopian" as the city battles a COVID-19 surge. In this photo, workers, wearing protective gear, stand next to the access of a Hotel on the Bund, in the Puxi area that will be in lockdown from April 1, in Shanghai on March 31. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images