China on Tuesday expressed displeasure over the US move to order its non-emergency workers and their family members to leave the COVID-19-hit Shanghai city.
“China has lodged solemn representations with the US over its order to evacuate its consulate in Shanghai,” Zhao Lijian, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a news conference in Beijing.
“China’s epidemic prevention and control policies are scientific and effective,” Zhao said, according to Chinese public broadcaster CGTN.
He said Shanghai local authorities “are providing as much assistance and convenience as possible to foreign nationals, as long as the policy allows.”
"China deplores and rejects the US move of politicizing and instrumentalizing the issue of personnel departure," Zhao said.
"The US should immediately stop attacking China’s epidemic response policies, stop political manipulation, and stop smearing China," he said, adding the US side has been informed about this.
The US State Department on Monday ordered its non-emergency US government workers and their family members to leave Shanghai.
The order to vacate Shanghai by the US came in response to COVID-19 cases and the impact of restrictions related to the Chinese government's response.
Shanghai hosts one of the US' five consulates in China.
“The zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 by the PRC and Hong Kong governments severely impacts travel and access to public services,” said the department in a travel advisory, referring to the People’s Republic of China, the country’s official name.
The department also called on Americans to reconsider traveling to China, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Jilin province, and Shanghai municipality “due to COVID-19-related restrictions, including the risk of parents and children being separated.”
“China’s anti-epidemic policy is in keeping with its national realities, meets the need for combating COVID-19, works effectively, and contributes significantly to the global fight against the pandemic,” Zhao had said on Monday.
Shanghai, China’s most populous city, is one of the regions hit worst in an unprecedented virus wave that saw the country record more than 100,000 infections in March alone.
Earlier this month, authorities extended a lockdown and restrictions in Shanghai for an indefinite period and have been carrying out a citywide campaign to test its millions of residents.
However, since Monday evening, local authorities began to partially lift community lockdowns.
Gu Honghui, deputy secretary-general of Shanghai Municipal People's Government, said people living in 40% of Shanghai's residential compounds will now “be able to walk out of their homes.”
With the latest orders, markets, convenience stores, drug stores, and baby care stores resumed business last evening.
To maintain the supply chain amid severe lockdown, local governments from around 17 Chinese provinces shipped food and other essential items to Shanghai, home to around 26 million people.
Many videos making rounds on social media suggested people becoming wary of continuous lockdown and urging authorities to allow them to resume normal lives.