Health authorities in Beijing transferred 4,979 of the city’s residents to state-run quarantine facilities over the weekend as part of the effort to contain the latest outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus in the Chinese national capital, the Global Times reported on Sunday.
Chinese Communist Party officials began uprooting the massive group of residents on May 20 from a residential compound in Beijing’s Chaoyang district and continued the effort through at least May 21. Individuals within the group will spend a minimum of seven days sealed inside designated hotel rooms booked by the Chinese state to accommodate the quarantine.
“The task is very tough. A total of 4,979 residents needed to be transferred. 210 staff from seven teams have [been] stationed in the community to communicate with them from door to door. We would like to thank the residents of the community for their understanding and support. So far, more than 4,300 people have arrived at hotels and the work is going smoothly,” Chaoyang district Communist Party official Wang Wu told Chinese media on May 21.
Beijing health authorities chose to quarantine the thousands-strong group after reportedly detecting just 26 confirmed coronavirus cases across eight buildings of the residential compound in question since May 12, when the housing block was locked down to prevent further transmission of the disease.
The development suggests that the Communist Party’s “zero tolerance” policy toward the coronavirus has largely failed to contain Beijing’s most recent flare-up of the disease since it began on April 22. In some cases, the policy requires Communist Party health workers to forcibly remove residents from their homes and place them “in hotels or quarantine facilities if their neighbors tested positive for the coronavirus,” Voice of America reported on May 10.
Beijing health authorities detected 99 new daily cases of the Chinese coronavirus on May 22, which marked an increase from the 61 such infections recorded on May 21. Reuters described Beijing’s daily coronavirus tally on Sunday as the city’s “largest daily tally so far during a month-old outbreak that has consistently seen dozens of new infections every day.”
Beijing tightened its anti-epidemic restrictions on Saturday in response to its surging coronavirus caseload, ordering millions of the capital’s residents to observe work-from-home orders for at least seven days.
“[R]esidents in Haidian district are suggested to work from home, while residents in four other districts – Chaoyang, Fengtai, Shunyi, Fangshan -are also suggested to work from home until May 28,” the Global Times revealed on May 22.
“Six of the city’s 16 districts have told all residents to work from home and avoid gatherings, and said those who have to go to work should have a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours. A further three encouraged certain groups to follow such measures, with each district responsible for implementing its own guidelines,” Reuters reported of Beijing’s new movement restrictions on May 23.
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