Areas of Hebei, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Henan, and Ningxia provinces, as well as Inner Mongolia and Beijing announced that they entered “wartime” mode over the weekend due to surges in COVID-19 cases.
“Wartime” mode typically means that restrictions are placed on when residents can leave their homes, and almost all public facilities, such as schools, stores, stadiums, and parks, are closed.
A spokesperson for the Beijing city government Xu Hejian said at a press conference on Jan. 8: “At present, diagnosed patients and cluster outbreaks are happening all around the country.”
The central government advised against travel for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, which falls on Feb. 12 this year. Millions usually make trips to their hometowns to reunite with their families.
Over the weekend, city governments across the country also announced a new rule requiring those who wish to travel during the holiday to get prior approval from their employers.
For example, Meizhou city in Guangdong Province issued a notice on Jan. 8: “All staff and workers in the city’s government departments, state-run enterprises, and private companies should not leave Meizhou city for Lunar New Year… If you really need to leave, you must get approved from the management team of the company/department.”
Meanwhile, Shijiazhuang, a city of 11 million in northern China, continued to see new infections amid a severe outbreak.
At a Sunday press conference organized by the city government, officials ruled that all residents must take a second nucleic acid test for COVID-19 in the next two days, and that all residents cannot leave their homes for another seven days. Only couriers and medical staff who have a special pass can travel on the streets freely. Last week, the city entered lockdown.
Initially, authorities still allowed over 60 large-scale grocery stores to remain open for customers on Sunday. However, state-run China National Radio reported on Sunday evening that all grocery stores in the city were closed and people could only order online.
Food prices skyrocketed as a result.
Shijiazhuang resident Gong Huo complained on social platform Weibo that some stores refused to sell him food unless he bought multiple items at the same time.“The grocery store asked me to order flour, cooking oil, and rice if I want to buy vegetables and eggs. Moreover, I have to wait for delivery. Because the store won’t deliver unless more than 100 people from my residential compound also order food,” he posted.
Wang Qiang (pseudonym) from Nanpi county, Cangzhou city in northern China’s Hebei Province told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that his family was forced to move to a quarantine center after being isolated at home for seven days. Authorities said it is because he and his wife came back from another city recently.
“My grandma is 80-year-old, and both my parents have diabetes and hypertension. They are vulnerable to being infected with COVID-19. Now the officials forced all five of us to leave our home and move to a quarantine center. Otherwise, they will order police to detain us,” Wang said in a Saturday interview.
Wang added that the official in charge of epidemic control in his area told him that the outbreak in nearby Dongguang county is very severe.” At press time, authorities made no official announcement about the outbreak in Dongguang.
The Epoch Times called Nanpi Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The official who answered the phone confirmed the policy that all families with members who recently traveled out of town need to be quarantined at quarantine centers, but he refused to provide further details about the local outbreak.
From The Epoch Times