Meanwhile, the cities of Harbin and Mudanjiang in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang Province prohibited some of their restaurants from offering dine-in services—to stop people from gathering in large numbers.
Chinese authorities arranged a five-day public holiday from May 1 to 5, the longest Labor Day break in over a decade. In previous years, Labor Day was a three-day or four-day break.
To make up for the days off on May 4 and 5, authorities asked that employees work on April 30 or May 9.
But many could not enjoy the holiday.
Beijing city has launched regulations on April 20, banning restaurants from organizing group meals or parties. Shanxi Province, Sanhe city in Hebei Province, and other at least 15 cities also banned wedding receptions, birthday parties, and similar get-togethers during the holiday.
Some teachers and students are also not allowed to observe the holiday.
Six municipalities in Henan Province announced that no teachers or students would be allowed to leave the city during the holiday due to fears about the virus spreading. Schools that recently reopened would not observe the holiday. Zhengzhou, the capital city, asked all seniors in high school and middle school to stay in class.
Hangzhou city in Zhejiang Province and Huizhou in Guangdong Province also canceled the holiday for students.
A student at Jiangnan University in Wuxi city, Jiangsu Province, told The Epoch Times that he and his classmates were forced to stay in school. He said the university didn’t allow any students to leave the campus, nor be visited by parents or relatives.
Some were asked by their employers to stay put during the holiday.
Ms. Li is from Shanghai. She said her cousin works for the state-run Shanghai Stock Exchange, which ordered all employees to stay in Shanghai.
Chinese economist Cao Shanshi posted on Twitter an internal notice from a Shanghai securities firm, which stated that any employee who leaves the city during the holiday must quarantine themselves at home for 14 days upon their return. Employees can use their annual vacation days for the quarantine period. The days not covered by their vacation days would count as an unpaid vacation day.
On May 2, the Mudanjiang city government ordered restaurants in the city that supply barbecue, hot pot, wok stew, and other communal meals to forbid guests from dining inside the restaurant beginning on May 3.
The city asked other types of restaurants to maintain social distancing for guests.
The Harbin city government sent out the same command on May 1, effective beginning on May 2.
The two cities also reported new cluster outbreaks within hospitals.
Internal documents that The Epoch Times recently obtained revealed that the Heilongjiang government issued strict regulations to control and prevent outbreaks inside hospitals, noting that they should adopt measures similar to those in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the epidemic first broke out.
The Heilongjiang provincial health commission announced on April 29that a 60-year-old medical staffer Mrs. Wu was infected with the virus after she took care of a patient at a hospital in Mudanjiang. She then brought the virus back to her hometown, Linkou county in Mudanjiang. Wu was diagnosed on April 25. Several of her relatives later tested positive as well.
On May 1, local residents told U.S.-based media Secret China that the situation was worsening in Linkou.
Huang said the county train station was closed down after the conductor was diagnosed. The government is now conducting contact tracing to find those who interacted with the train conductor and isolate them at a quarantine center.
Although the Heilongjiang health commission did not announce any new infections in Harbin since April 28, local residents said their neighbors were taken away by people dressed in protective suits.
“They [government staff] took away a neighbor from my apartment unit, then disinfected the whole unit. They refused to tell us what happened, which made us very nervous,” said Ms. Zhao, a Harbin resident.
Zhao said authorities did not announce any new infections in the district she lives in, but she and her neighbors believed that there were many people infected in the area. They did not dare to venture outside, for fear of contracting the virus.
On May 3, a netizen shared videos he shot in different locations of Harbin, such as the railway station and the banks of the Songhua river, where very few people were on the streets.