Aerial View Photos of Shanghai Office Spaces Turned Into Covid-19 Quarantine Site

Aerial view photos of Shanghai office spaces turned into a Covid-19 quarantine site attracted the attention of Chinese netizens this week after they were widely shared on WeChat and WeChat. After one Weibo user (@麦兜戴帽子) shared the photos on April 20, they were soon forwarded nearly 30,000 times, receiving over 140,000 likes.

One photo is a nighttime exterior shot of an office building that is now being used as a quarantine location, showing at least twelve stories of office space where people are staying in brightly lit rooms, their beds placed closely together.

A second photo shows a wide-angle view of the office buildings that have been converted to fangcang (方舱) or ‘makeshift hospitals.’

Other photos, one from the outside and one from the inside, give a more detailed view of what life is like at the quarantine location, with people staying together in crowded rooms.

Although quarantine sites or fangcang are nothing new in China’s Covid-era, many people on Weibo have expressed shock and disbelief at seeing these photos which show a present-day Shanghai surreal reality where impersonal office buildings become crowded makeshift hospitals. For many, the photos represent the sometimes cold and harsh atmosphere of how Shanghai residents have been treated during the city’s Covid crisis.

There are those who comment on the rooms being too crowded, the lack of washing rooms and showers, the bright lights, and the overall atmosphere. “When I saw this image from a distance, I thought it was an office full of people working overtime. My god!” Another commenter remarked: “This looks like a Hollywood SciFi movie.”

“Even if you’re a healthy person, this place will give you health problems,” another person wrote.

The photos appear to be taken in Shanghai’s Putuo District at Changfeng Center (No. 388 Tongpu Road), building 5A, which is a relatively new building.1 According to some people’s personal accounts of the situation at the site, the living conditions are not adequate at all. The ‘makeshift hospital’ allegedly has no medical staff nor medical equipment, there are no shower rooms, and even basic medication is not available.

Patients complained about the living conditions via a dedicated page on Weibo where people can ask for help during the Shanghai Covid crisis.

Although some of the people staying at this facility are vulnerable (one account claimed that there are 95-year-old patients there as well as babies that are just a few months old), symptomatic and asymptomatic patients are mixed together in rooms. One other person claimed that there was not enough food or drinking water at the location.

The Shanghai office building is just one among dozens of quarantine locations in the city. Earlier in April, Shanghai opened a new giant makeshift hospital in the city, which is the largest one China has seen thus far. But although the temporary hospital has 50,000 beds, it is not enough for all the Covid-19 patients in the city, who all require a mandatory quarantine stay according to China’s zero-Covid policy. Shanghai registered 18,901 new local Covid-19 cases on Tuesday and added 18,495 new cases in the previous 24 hours.

For more articles on the Covid-19 topics on Chinese social media, check here.

By Manya Koetse

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Note: It is unclear who has taken these photos as no photographer has been mentioned. It is feasible that multiple photos were taken by different people who then shared them via WeChat or other channels, then being shared on Weibo and elsewhere. Do you know who took these photos, please let us know.

1 Besides being confirmed by Weibo users, the location of the building was also determined by Reddit user/uhhhh_no/, who compared the location on the photos to official city architectural drawings and some more from 51Banban here and here, alongside the Baike article on Putuo District’s Zhetie Lücheng Changfeng Center (浙铁绿城长风中心) with some photos.

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Aerial View Photos of Shanghai Office Spaces Turned Into Covid-19 Quarantine Site