Four Regions Across China Enter ‘Wartime’ Mode Following COVID-19 Outbreaks

Four Regions Across China Enter ‘Wartime’ Mode Following COVID-19 Outbreaks
A woman wearing a face mask rides an electric bicycle along a street in Beijing, on Dec. 10, 2020. (WANG ZHAO/AFP via Getty Images)
Nicole Hao

New outbreaks were reported in four areas of China as local residents complained about strict lockdown policies.

China’s National Health Commission—the nation’s top health agency—announced that new COVID-19 patients were diagnosed in the northeastern-most province of Heilongjiang and in southwestern Sichuan province on Dec. 13.

Meanwhile, the Xinjiang region announced new asymptomatic carriers (Chinese authorities count them in a separate category from people who test positive and exhibit symptoms), and the southern island province of Hainan quarantined at least 43 people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


The province announced new infections on Dec. 13, including a patient living in Tahe city.
Tahe became the latest city to enter wartime mode, after Suifenhe and Dongning were placed under lockdown on Dec. 10. The true scale of the outbreak is unclear; authorities have previously underreported or covered up information.
On Dec. 12, the Suifenhe and Dongning city governments set more strict quarantine policies. Suifenhe declared that all residents must stay at home, with only one member of each household allowed to go out shopping, once every three days, and return within two hours.

In addition, weddings were banned, while funerals were limited to no more than five attendees.

All hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies were instructed by authorities to record and report all who purchased medicines to treat fever, cough, and virus infection—common symptoms of COVID-19.

The Dongning government allowed only one member of each household to go outside and shop once every two days, and up to eight people to attend funerals. Weddings were also banned.


Sichuan health authorities announced dozens of new COVID-19 infections since entering wartime mode on Dec. 8, with the entire province under lockdown.
On Dec. 12, a netizen in Chengdu, the provincial capital, shared a video on social media, in which a woman could be seen trying to leave a sealed-off residential compound by climbing a temporary fence. She told the people standing nearby that she wasn’t infected with COVID-19, so she should be allowed to leave her compound.
However, security officers subdued her immediately after she climbed the fence. Later, she was taken away by an ambulance.

Other Regions

China’s Xinjiang region in the northwest announced new COVID-19 cases on Dec. 13.

The regional government announced that a man who lives in the Gaochang district of Turpan city was diagnosed as a COVID-19 asymptomatic carrier on Dec. 12. His wife, mother, and one co-worker have since tested positive.

On Hainan, authorities said on Dec. 13 that all 29 members of a tourist group and 14 others were quarantined at hotels in Sanya city, saying they were close contacts of asymptomatic carriers.

Five townships in northern China’s Inner Mongolia were still listed as “medium-risk” areas for COVID-19 spread as of Dec. 13.

Areas of Inner Mongolia have been under lockdown since infections were discovered in Manzhouli city on Nov. 21.

Heilongjiang, Sichuan, and Xinjiang haven’t yet announced where the latest outbreaks originated.

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.