Healthcare workers seen next to food delivered by the local government in Shanghai on Sunday. (AFP)

Shanghai residents, frustrated by the harsh COVID-19 lockdown, can be heard screaming from their apartments in new videos that have gone viral on social media. Several such videos have surfaced on Twitter, Instagram and other platforms, which show people bickering with local authorities and warning of repercussions.

China’s largest city has been closed since April 5 to control the spread of infection as part of the country’s “zero COVID” policy. The city’s 26 million residents have been ordered to stay at home.

Renowned US-based public health scientist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding posted some of these videos from Shanghai where he says apartment residents speak in “Shanghainese,” a local dialect. He said people couldn’t hold out any longer, which could lead to tragedy.

“Yao ming le” & “yao si” – both expressions meaning “life and death” but they also more literally mean “asking for death”. The narrator ultimately implies shit will hit the fan soon if this continues,” Dr. Feigl-Ding said in the Twitter thread.

“The video has been verified by @patrickmadrid’s family. It has also been verified by my sources as commonplace. Also, Shanghainese is a local dialect (not really useful for propaganda) – only 14 million out of 1 Chinese, 3 billion speak it. I only speak it because I was born there,” he said in another tweet.

The health expert said China could be reaching a “breaking point” with the BA.2 variant of Omicron, which is behind the spike in cases in Shanghai.

“Horrors beyond,” said one Twitter user. “Straight out of a dystopian novel. This will give you chills,” said another.

China’s most populous city reported nearly 25,000 locally transmitted COVID-19 infections on Sunday. Residents have expressed complaints about food and basic supplies and fear that more towns will soon find themselves in the same situation.

Shanghai’s case count is low compared to some cities around the world, but it is battling China’s worst COVID outbreak since the virus emerged in the central city of Wuhan in 2019.

Shanghai’s streets are deserted with only healthcare workers, volunteers, delivery people or people allowed out with special permission.