Anger in China after officials break into homes in hunt for Covid contacts
Authorities in southern China have issued a rare apology for breaking into the homes of people who had been taken to a quarantine hotel, in the latest example of heavy-handed virus-prevention measures that have sparked a rare public backlash.To get more news about coronavirus china update, you can visit shine news official website.
State media said that 84 homes in an apartment complex in Guangzhou city’s Liwan district had been opened in an effort to find any “close contacts” hiding inside and to disinfect the premises.
The doors were later sealed and new locks installed, the Global Times newspaper reported.The Liwan district government apologised on Monday for such “oversimplified and violent” behaviour, the paper said. An investigation has been launched and “relevant people” will be severely punished, it said.
China’s leadership has maintained its hard-line “zero-Covid” policy despite the mounting economic costs and disruption to the lives of citizens, who continue to be subjected to routine testing and quarantines, even while the rest of the world has opened up to living with the disease.
In the last few months, numerous cases of police and health workers breaking into homes around China in the name of anti-Covid-19 measures have been documented on social media. In some, doors have been broken down and residents threatened with punishment, even when they tested negative for the virus. Authorities have demanded keys to lock in residents of apartment buildings where cases have been detected, steel barriers erected to prevent them leaving their compounds and iron bars welded over doors.
Many flocked to the internet to complain about such behaviour by the authorities. The outrage flooded Chinese social media particularly in April and May in Shanghai, where a ruthless and often chaotic lockdown spurred protests online and in person among those unable to access food, health care and basic necessities.Authorities in Beijing have taken a gentler approach, concerned with prompting unrest in the capital ahead of a key party congress later this year at which president and party leader Xi Jinping is expected to receive a third five-year term amid radically slower economic growth and high unemployment among college graduates and migrant workers.
A requirement that only vaccinated people could enter public spaces was swiftly cancelled last week after city residents denounced it as having been announced without warning and unfair to those who have not had their shots.
“Zero-Covid” has been justified as necessary to avoid a wider outbreak among a population that has had relatively little exposure to the virus and less natural immunity. Although China’s vaccination rate hovers at about 90%, it is considerably lower among elderly people.
China’s national borders remain largely closed and although domestic tourism has picked up, travel around the country remains subject to an array of regulations, with quarantine restrictions constantly in flux.In one recent incident, 2,000 visitors to the southern tourist hub of Beihai were forced to prolong their stays after more than 500 cases were found and they were barred from leaving.
Many in China now fear fresh lockdowns may be enforced again, as the country has in the past week grappling with a fresh – although small, compared to many other countries - flare-up of cases. A more transmissible Omicron subvariant, BA.5, has been discovered in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
On Tuesday, mainland China reported 935 local cases, including 827 asymptomatic infections across 10 provinces. Most cases were reported in Guangxi and Gansu.