A Beijing man is now under criminal investigation because he missed out on mandatory home isolation, leading authorities to order his more than 5,000 neighbours into a home or government quarantine.
The man, in his early 40s, was ordered to isolate himself at home after accessing a high-risk retail centre on May 23, according to officials. They claimed he “went out multiple times and moved about the neighbourhood, jeopardising the spread of the virus” during his isolation, until he and his spouse tested positive 5 days later. In response, authorities ordered 258 inhabitants of his building to report to a government quarantine centre, while the rest of the residential community’s 5,000 members were told to stay at home.
China has set tight controls on its population as it strives to eliminate outbreaks of the highly transmissible Omicron strain of Covid-19. China’s zero-Covid policy has been criticised for having a significant negative impact on the economy and people, notably in Shanghai, but the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, has reaffirmed his commitment to seeing it through.
The arduous procedures have generated widespread frustration and exhaustion among residents, but as the number of reported cases has declined and limitations have begun to lighten, online users have responded passionately to the Beijing man’s conduct.
On Sunday, authorities in the United States identified 122 new community cases outside of quarantine settings, including 102 asymptomatic carriers. On Sunday, only 12 locally transmitted cases were reported in Beijing, and libraries, museums, theatres, and gyms that had been closed for at least seven days were allowed to reopen.
Instead of imposing a blanket lockdown, Beijing authorities imposed travel restrictions, mandated working from home in some districts, banned public activities, and performed targeted lockdowns of specific buildings and neighbourhoods.
In Shanghai, a months-long shutdown is due to end on Wednesday, and the govt has launched a raft of economic stimulus measures aimed to repair harm. At an unprecedented conference with more than 10,000 officials last week, Premier Li Keqiang warned the economy was at a “critical point”, and there would be terrible consequences if officials did not move fast, and balanced Covid regulations with economic growth.
In order to move around more freely, certain communities have adopted “routine” testing regimens that require all residents to acquire a negative PCR test every 2 – 3 days. Cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and the provinces of Hebei, Henan, and Jiangxi have all built testing locations. Following public anger, authorities in the Sichuan city of Langzhong revoked a demand that individuals pay for their own mandatory weekly test. Weekly tests have also been implemented in Gansu Province’s Longxi county.