Chinese Authorities Struggle to Contain Latest Outbreaks in Several Regions

Chinese Authorities Struggle to Contain Latest Outbreaks in Several Regions
A medical professional is collecting a swab sample from a taxi driver for COVID-19 test at a makeshift testing station in Hong Kong on July 24, 2020. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
Nicole Hao
Chinese authorities have launched more control measures after the latest wave of CCP virus outbreaks were reported in far-western Xinjiang and northeastern Dalian city. But the virus has continued to infect more people and spread to more regions of the country.


In Xinjiang, home to 24.87 million people, almost half of them Uyghur Muslim minorities, authorities announced that hundreds have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since July 16, almost all in the capital of Urumqi. But residents were incredulous and believed the true figures were likely higher.

Deputy mayor of Urumqi, Song Yajun, said at a July 30 press conference that 12,313 people were isolated at quarantine centers and being observed to see if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.

Some residents shared a video showing authorities broadcasting threats over loudspeakers inside residential compounds. The message was: “If you dare to leave your door, we‘ll break your legs. If you dare argue with us, we’ll knock out your teeth.”

People also begged for food on social media. They said they were locked inside their homes, but authorities didn’t arrange for enough shopping methods for them to buy essential goods.

Dilshat Reshit, spokesman of the World Uyghur Congress—an international organization of exiled Uyghurs—told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on July 30 that the group heard from local residents who believed the authorities were underreporting the outbreak.

The Chinese regime issues such extreme measures not only to prevent the virus from spreading, but to suppress all possible protests against authorities’ methods, Reshit said.

Residents in Ghulja, Kashgar, Changji, and Karamay cities said the areas have been locked down, though there have been no official announcements.


Dalian has announced new infections every day since July 23. Zhao Lian, deputy director of the Dalian Municipal Health Commission said at a daily press conference on July 29 that most of the diagnosed patients in the outbreak have been young people.

Jiang Wei, deputy director of the Dalian Culture and Tourism Bureau, said at the same conference that the city has closed 1,614 cultural sites, such as museums and art galleries, in order to prevent the virus from spreading.

Zhao added that the city would also close all gyms, indoor sports centers, and beauty shops.

On July 30, Zhao said that authorities didn’t trust the veracity of the first round of nucleic acid testing on all 6.9 million residents, and would thus begin a second round of testing on residents in “high-risk” regions.
Dalian was locked down after announcing its first patient in the current outbreak on July 23. Local residents told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that they needed more food, but they were locked down at home and online shopping sites had run out of supplies.
A health worker administers a COVID-19 test in Dalian, in China's northeast Liaoning Province, on July 26, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)
A health worker administers a COVID-19 test in Dalian, in China's northeast Liaoning Province, on July 26, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)


Meanwhile, in Beijing, where locals were infected after contact with people from Dalian, the deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pang Xinghuo, warned against gatherings during a press conference on July 30. She said if people must gather, they should maintain social distancing, wear masks, and open the windows.

After positive COVID-19 cases were discovered at Tiantongyuan, the city’s largest affordable housing project with more than 400,000 residents, locals told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that local authorities had locked down the west three zone of Tiantongyuan since July 28, and asked all residents in the housing complex to be tested for the virus.

A lady who lives next door to a family of infected patients said in a phone interview that after authorities confirmed their diagnoses, she was locked in her home and not allowed to leave. All staff at her workplace were tested for the CCP virus, whether they had had contact with her or not.

Business owners in the residential compound said authorities haven’t given them clear instructions on whether they could continue operating and were worried that their stores would be forced to close soon.


Fuzhou city in southern China’s Fujian Province announced one diagnosed COVID-19 patient surnamed Chi, who was infected after visiting Dalian. Chi has 1,495 close contacts, according to authorities. Fuzhou city announced a “wartime state” on July 27.
Local residents told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that Chi arrived in Fuzhou from Dalian by plane for a new job on July 18. In the following days, he toured around Fuzhou as a tourist, tried foods at restaurants, shopped at markets, stayed at different hotels, and visited at least one prostitute at her house. Soliciting prostitution is illegal in China.

“If Chi is contagious, we’re in trouble. ... We’re waiting for death,” said a restaurant owner in Jin’an district, Fuzhou city, who said he was worried that Chi had spread the virus widely.

Chi visited a dumpling store before being diagnosed. The owner’s restaurant is next door to the dumpling store.

The business owner said the dumpling store’s owner and staff have been isolated at a quarantine center.

An employee at Huaiyi Hotel in Taijiang district said he and colleagues were quarantined at the hotel after Chi was diagnosed. Chi had stayed at the hotel on July 18 and 19. On July 27, the hotel was closed by authorities.

Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.