For weeks, residents on China’s busiest city Shanghai have been subject to one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.
As infections rise, thousands of positive COVID-19 cases have been forced into makeshift quarantine facilities.
Almost everyone else has been trapped at home, only allowed to leave for daily COVID-19 testing.
“We are so happy to be home … it was horrible,” Jessica Jamieson said. Mrs Jamieson and Dale Jamieson managed to flee with their children and return to Sydney.
“Had four … three flights cancelled before one finally left,” Mr Jamieson said.
Unlike when Australia was in lockdown, locals said there are no shops open in Shanghai, so residents have to rely on government rations, or order supplies in bulk to their compounds.
“Food … we couldn’t get food … no food, water and they were sort of only doing group purchases,” Mrs Jamieson said.
“I’ve made some bread to swap with someone else for some onions, so I’ve left that out at my door,” fellow Australian Kimbra Power said.
Power is a teacher at an International School in the Chinese city and said it’s dire.
“People are going without food, I mean they’re definitely rationing and thinking about their food and their water every single day, even the ones who are kind of well-off,” Power said.
“It’s not like when I was in Australia and people were taking toilet paper off the shelves themselves, there’s not a single supermarket or market in the whole of Shanghai. There’s nothing open like that’.
“And if you test positive to COVID-19 you don’t get to stay in a hotel with harbour views, you could end up in a makeshift quarantine facility, separated from your children.
“(The facility has) huge expo sheds like an Olympic village with just beds, you know, just thousands of beds you (have) no privacy, lights on all the time, no shower for two weeks, terrible toilet sanitation,” Power said.
With no certainty around when the lockdown will end, Australian families are forking out to desperately get home.
“The flights are $15,000 Australian, you know, just economy return, like it’s insane. So that’s the flight I’m coming back on,” Power said.