Thousands forced into quarantine camps as China imposes city-wide closures
Pregnant women, children and the elderly are believed to be among those sent to some of the huge quarantine camps that have sprung up across China to house victims of Covid-19.
ideas have surfaced on social media, appearing to show rows and rows of cramped metal boxes people are forced to stay in for up to two weeks.
Those who have experienced the facilities say they ended up with little food in the metal freezer boxes that feature little more than a wooden bed and a toilet.
Beijing has introduced draconian measures throughout the communist country in an attempt to eradicate the virus that has left more than 20 million people confined to their homes in quarantine.
Forbidden to leave their homes even to buy food, a town, Anyang, which is home to 5.5 million people, was closed Monday evening after two cases of the omicron variant were reported.
Anyang’s lockdown, which was announced after only two cases of the omicron variant were reported, meant residents were not allowed out until stores were closed, except for those selling basic necessities.
It was not known how long the Anyang lockdown would last, as it was heralded as a measure to facilitate mass testing of residents.
This is a standard procedure in China’s strategy to identify and isolate infected people as quickly as possible.
The lockdowns are the widest since the closure of Wuhan and most of the rest of Hubei province in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
China’s approach has evolved to target smaller areas affected by epidemics for closures.
The approach of the Winter Olympics, which open Feb.4 in Beijing, and the emergence of the omicron have brought back city-wide lockdowns in a bid to prevent them from spreading to d ‘other parts of China.
Some residents of closed towns told the BBC they were part of a “big transfer” of thousands of people to the camps.
Residents of Mingde 8 Yingli Housing Complex revealed how they were told just after midnight on January 1 that they had to leave their homes and enter the quarantine center.
One witness claimed that 30 buses had arrived at the compound, while another said that 1,000 people had been transferred.
Local reports said residents mixed when queuing for their Covid tests.
Another city, Tianjin, a large port located less than an hour from Beijing by high-speed train, has only locked down affected areas as it conducts mass testing.
As of noon last Tuesday, 97 people had tested positive in the city of 14 million inhabitants, including 49 showing symptoms, 15 without symptoms and 33 awaiting further verification.
More than 2,000 people have been infected in Xi’an during China’s largest outbreak since the first in Wuhan.
The old capital is a popular tourist stopover home to the Terracotta Warrior Ruins as well as a Samsung computer chip factory.
Authorities credited the lockdown with reducing the spread, although it has disrupted lives and emergency medical treatment for some.
The city has reported 13 new cases in the past 24 hours, up from more than 100 a day at the height of the outbreak.