Thousands of Covid-negative Beijing residents have been forcibly moved to quarantine hotels overnight due to a handful of infections, as the capital begins to take more extreme control measures resembling the hit Shanghai by the virus.
Beijing is battling its worst outbreak since the pandemic began. The Omicron variant has infected more than 1,300 people since late April, causing the city’s restaurants, schools and tourist attractions to close indefinitely.
China’s strategy to reach zero Covid cases includes strict border closures, long quarantines, mass testing and rapid, targeted lockdowns.
More than 13,000 residents of the closed Nanxinyuan residential compound in southeast Beijing were moved to quarantine hotels overnight Friday due to 26 new infections discovered in recent days, according to photos and a notice of the government widely shared on social networks.
“Experts have determined that all Nanxinyuan residents are under centralized quarantine starting at midnight on May 21 for seven days,” Chaoyang district authorities said Friday.
“Please cooperate, otherwise you will bear the corresponding legal consequences.”
Pictures on social media showed hundreds of residents with luggage queuing in the dark to board coaches parked outside the compound.
“Some of us have been locked down for 28 days since April 23, and all of us tested negative throughout,” one resident wrote on Weibo Twitter.
“Many of my neighbors are elderly or have young children.”
“The transfer really makes us feel like we’re in a war scene,” resident and real estate blogger Liu Guangyu said on Weibo early Saturday.
Residents were told to pack their clothes and essentials, and their homes would then be sanitized, according to screenshots shared on Weibo.
Last month, thousands of negative Shanghai residents were bused to makeshift quarantine centers hundreds of miles away as the metropolis of 25 million doubled down on efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
Weibo users have expressed widespread concern that authorities in Beijing are taking a similar approach in Shanghai, where residents have chafed under a months-long lockdown that has deprived many of adequate access to food and medical care.
The Weibo hashtag “All residents of Nanxinyuan Compound have been quarantined” was blocked on Saturday morning.
“It’s exactly the same as in Shanghai, the first step is to turn off the water and electricity, then ask for the keys…then disinfect the houses. Electrical appliances, wooden furniture, clothes, food, it’s over,” we read. a comment.
Beijing authorities extended home orientation work to another district on Saturday, a day after shutting down the vast majority of public bus and subway services.