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1 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A dog stands in an empty street in the Southeast Garden neighborhood a few blocks away from the municipal government compound in Changzhou, China on March 26, 2022. The week before, Changzhou’s residents hunkered down in a city-wide lockdown, ordered after increasingly severe restrictions failed to bring a swift end to a small COVID-19 outbreak — still, the streets remain empty. [Changzhou China]

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2 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A boy and his father wait behind a quarantine fence in the business-heavy Zouqu subdistrict for a freight truck to arrive to pick up a shipment of goods for the father’s company on April 19, 2022. The lockdowns in Changzhou have varied in size and severity this spring, but all disrupt school, work, commerce, and industry. [Changzhou China]

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3 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A boy and his father complete a PCR test in Changzhou’s Xinbei District on March 23, 2022 in preparation for a return to school and work. As lockdowns ebb around the city, residents are frequently called to complete PCR tests whether or not they are linked to COVID-19 cases in Changzhou’s comprehensive tracing system. [Changzhou China]

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4 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

Two boys ride bikes in a temporarily abandoned construction site on March 30, 2022. Construction is one of the many industries that has been plagued with slowdowns and shutdowns as workers are forced to stay home. [Changzhou China]

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5 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

Two officers rest at the entrance to a freight truck quarantine area converted from the Flower Pavilion parking lot in Changzhou’s Wujin District on April 3, 2022. In hopes of keeping the virus out of the city, checkpoints manned by a combination of local government officers and civilian volunteers act as a barrier between Changzhou and the outside world. [Changzhou China]

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6 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A checkpoint worker seals a freight truck driver into his truck on April 8, 2022. When trucks arrive from outside the city, they must undergo tests and fill out long forms about their routes and destinations. For trucks coming from cities with active outbreaks, they are further required to wait for company escorts. When the escorts arrive, drivers are sealed into their trucks. They are not allowed to break the seals until they leave the city or else both the driver and the destination company can face heavy penalties. [Changzhou China]

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7 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A driver sleeps in his truck in a company parking lot on April 8, 2022. For truck drivers, the severe restrictions can add hours to what were once short hops between cities in China’s bustling Yangtze River Delta where Changzhou is located. Some drivers have spent days and weeks living out of their trucks. [Changzhou China]

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8 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A disinfectant container stands at the entrance to an ArcelorMittal plant in Changzhou’s Xinbei District on April 8, 2022. Disinfectant has become a common sight around Changzhou where it is used frequently in hopes of protecting the city from future outbreaks. All companies are required to stock and use it. [Changzhou China]

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9 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A security guard disinfects the inside of a container from the Port of Shanghai before loading in Changzhou on April 8, 2022. As part of COVID-19 policies company and community security guards are tasked with disinfecting, making them frontline warriors in Changzhou’s COVID-19 battles. [Changzhou China]

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10 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

Chen Baochuan sits inside his truck cab in Changzhou on April 8, 2022. Traveling for ten hours already, Chen begins the long drive back to the Port of Changzhou, a trip normally made in two hours but which now lasts two to five times longer (in “good” traffic conditions). [Changzhou China]

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11 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

Jimmy Wann the founder and CEO of Chinese medicine tech startup, Jinmu, sits in his company’s empty headquarters in Changzhou on April 15, 2022. Wann, a Taiwanese-American entrepreneur, has lost over half his employees since the pandemic began in 2020. With the difficulties created by changing policies and lockdowns, he is unsure his company will be able to survive 2022. [Changzhou China]

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12 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A salesperson, naps in the Jinmu office on April 15, 2022. Once busy with sales calls, tech conferences, and trade shows that frequently took her around the country, she has plenty of downtime. Changzhou has strict quarantine policies for residents who leave the city and return, making business trips unpopular. [Changzhou China]

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13 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A delivery driver looks over a quarantine fence in Changzhou’s Zouqu subdistrict on April 19, 2022. The threat of possible lockdowns have left many restaurants empty and have inflated the importance of delivery drivers who manage to get groceries, meals, and goods around pop-up barriers. [Changzhou China]

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14 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

Delivery drivers wait for calls in a square usually used by local residents for dancing and playing on April 1, 2022. In some parts of Changzhou like Changfa Plaza, the delivery drivers are now more plentiful than other groups. [Changzhou China]

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15 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

Workers pass car parts across a quarantine barrier in Changzhou’s Zouqu subdistrict on April 19, 2022. While early lockdowns involved completely shutting down companies, later on companies tried to find creative ways to both comply with city policies and keep their supply chains flowing. [Changzhou China]

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16 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A restaurant worker scans Changzhou’s new place code at Xinbei Wanda Plaza on April 4, 2022. In addition to physical barriers, Changzhou has erected new technological barriers. Residents must now scan special QR codes to gain access to eating, shopping, work, and public transportation. [Changzhou China]

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17 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A bottle of disinfectant sits next to a thermometer and a registry inside an empty restaurant on April 4, 2022. The barriers — along with worries over the extended quarantines that kick in if someone tests positive for COVID-19 — have kept restaurants empty throughout the spring holidays. [Changzhou China]

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18 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

Office worker Mo Lie slides a lock through a door inside a private wine club in Changzhou’s Xinbei District on April 16, 2022. With severe restrictions on gatherings in place, city residents are opting for more private ways to entertain themselves. [Changzhou China]

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19 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

A tent set up in a vacant lot two kilometers away from Changzhou’s municipal government complex on the evening of April 16, 2022. In the face of growing barriers to access to public places, city residents are increasingly using vacant and ignored areas to gather with friends and family. [Changzhou China]

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20 of 20 © 2022 Theresa Boersma

Wu Manting, Operations Manager at Mertenwu Technology Company, and son play with a bubble gun in the light of a fire on April 16, 2022. For the residents of Changzhou, life goes on despite the intrusions. [Changzhou China]

Public Story
Changzhou's New "Dynamic Zero-COVID" Wardrobe
Copyright Theresa Boersma 2022
Updated Sep 2022
Location Changzhou, China
Topics China, Documentary, Dynamic Zero COVID policy, Lockdown, Pandemics, Quarantine, Reopening

Theresa Boersma - Journalist

Theresa Boersma is an American journalist and entrepreneur based near Shanghai, China. A freelance reporter, her work spans in-depth investigative reporting and character-driven feature stories that explore the intersection of culture, policy, business, environment, education, and society.
Website via Visura

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