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07th Apr 2022

Lockdown drones in China tell citizens to ‘curb your soul’s desire for freedom’

Danny Jones

Lockdown drones Shanghai

What alternate dystopian reality is this?

As China‘s harsh lockdown restrictions continue, drones are now circling city streets as they warn citizens to stay inside and “curb your soul’s desire for freedom”.

In the truly surreal footage captured in Shanghai – where covid infections have led to a rising number of blood clots, food shortages, economic crisis and stress and anxiety epidemic – drones can be seen flying overhead as they sound messages reminding civilians to adhere to intense lockdown restrictions.

One particular clip that was first posted on the Chinese social media app Weibo has now gone viral. In it, a drone can be seen issuing the slightly bizarre message (Economist correspondent Alice Su providing her best English translation) as well as urging people to keep their windows closed and refrain from singing to reduce the possibility of transmitting the virus:

Rolling lockdowns have been pretty much a constant in China since the pandemic first broke out, with various regions regularly being given impromptu stay at home orders for extended periods over even the smallest number of cases.

At the start of the year, the entire city of Xi’an was confined to their homes after 52 infections were reported and back in 2021, Shanghai’s Disneyland location locked in more than 33,000 people overnight after one person tested positive.

The city’s covid restrictions aren’t just being policed by lockdown drones though; last month, a video circulated online which showed a robot dog with a megaphone mounted on top patrolling the streets and making covid announcements.

Following estimates of more than 13,000 cases a day, Shanghai’s district-based lockdown restrictions were made city-wide on Monday, with more than 26 million now stuck indoors and running low on supplies as businesses struggle to keep afloat.

The huge metropolis is now largely a ghost town and when people are allowed to leave for certain types of work or to shop for essentials, tensions are high:

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