Chinese citizens clash with Covid workers as caseload goes up countrywide

Updated on Nov 08, 2022 04:12 PM IST

At least seven Covid-19 workers appointed by the government were arrested in Linyi town in Shandong after they beat up local residents who argued against harsh Covid-control measures in their community

A woman (right) wearing a mask shows her health check QR code as she and others line up to get their routine Covid-19 throat swabs at a testing site in Beijing, on Tuesday. (AP)
A woman (right) wearing a mask shows her health check QR code as she and others line up to get their routine Covid-19 throat swabs at a testing site in Beijing, on Tuesday. (AP)

Beijing: Quarantined residents of a town in eastern China’s Shandong province clashed with workers enforcing Covid-19 restrictions on Monday as authorities grapple with the simultaneous rise in frustration among people and a country-wide uptick in new infections including in the global manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, fighting its worst ever outbreak.

At least seven Covid-19 workers appointed by the government were arrested in Linyi town in Shandong after they beat up local residents who argued against harsh Covid-control measures in their community.

Linyi police said they will take strong measures against those who “illegally violated the legal rights of personal protection of citizens” after social media posts showing workers in hazmat suits beating up and dragging citizens into vehicles went viral.

Backlash over China’s “zero-Covid” policy has been growing across the country though much of it has been online and focussed on specific cases like the death of a three-year-old who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after Covid restrictions kept him from getting treatment on time.

It has become tougher for the Chinese government to balance its “zero-Covid” strategy, people’s complaints against lockdown-related restrictions and a sharp rise in cases in recent days.

New locally transmitted infections climbed to 7,475 nationwide on November 7, the national health commission (NHC) said on Tuesday, up from 5,496 the day before and the highest since May 1 when a Covid outbreak was raging in Shanghai.

Guangzhou, the sprawling capital of the southern Guangdong province with over 18 million residents, reported 2,377 new local cases for Monday, up from 1,971 the previous day.

Mass tests were launched in nine districts of the city on Tuesday as authorities prepare to battle the worsening Covid situation in the city.

“It was the third day in a row for Guangzhou to have more than 1,000 daily cases and more than two weeks since the start of this outbreak, which is being driven by the Omicron BA.5.2 strain,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

While over 1,000 infections were reported in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang in northwest China reported more than 600 cases.

In Beijing, many primary schools have moved online after a few hundred cases were reported over the last few days. Several communities in the city have been sealed under targeted lockdown measures.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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