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One COVID rule breaker sends over 5,000 of his neighbors into quarantine

May 31, 2022, 3:58 PM UTC

A man in Beijing is under investigation after he ignored mandated home isolation orders from the government and sent his entire residential community into lockdown.

The offender, age 40, was told to self-isolate after he visited a shopping plaza the government deemed a risk area. But during his isolation, local authorities claim he “went out many times, and moved in the community, risking the spread of the epidemic” before testing positive for COVID-19 five days later.

In response to his actions, local authorities ordered the 258 people who lived in his building to go to a government quarantine center and told the more than 5,000 other residents in the community to stay at home.

China is wedded to a zero-COVID policy, imposing harsh curbs on the population to eliminate any possible outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The policy, which has led to the complete lockdown of Shanghai and partial lockdown of Beijing, has fueled public anger and rare protests for its effect on the people and the economy.

Easing rules

China loosened lockdown measures in Shanghai and Beijing over the weekend after the government reported only 122 new community cases across the country on Sunday outside quarantine settings. Out of the 122 new cases, only 12 transmitted cases were reported in the country’s capital, Beijing.

Shanghai, which has been under lockdown for nine weeks, is scrapping the “unreasonable” curbs on businesses starting June 1 and getting rid of its “whitelist” of companies that were allowed to resume operations during the city’s lockdown. On Sunday, the country also reopened its libraries, museums, theaters, and gyms.

Beijing also eased restrictions over the weekend. While the capital city sought to avoid mass lockdown, it had still quarantined certain buildings and areas, imposed travel curbs, enforced working from home, and closed public venues as part of the COVID-zero policy.

There are now “routinized” testing regimes requiring all residents to show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours if they wish to enter public venues or take public transport.

A report by Reuters estimates that the Chinese government will spend over $52 billion on measures to combat COVID-19 this year, including conducting frequent mass COVID tests and building medical facilities.

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