Chinese County Sets ‘Wartime’ Mode With No New COVID-19 Cases; Citizens Suspicious

November 15, 2020 Updated: November 15, 2020

A county in northern China’s Hubei Province was placed under “wartime” status to prevent the spread of COVID-19, though local officials have not publicly confirmed any local outbreak.

Chinese officials in Luotian County made the announcement on Nov. 12 via its social media account on Weibo, stating that “warlike discipline would be enforced in order to put local health prevention efforts in a state of “high-efficiency,” Weibo is China’s equivalent to Twitter.

Authorities requested people’s temperatures to be taken at public places such as markets, restaurants, and movie theaters. Local detention centers and senior centers were placed under “seal-off management.” In addition, parents were asked not to enter schoolyards unless needed.

Moreover, local citizens should avoid traveling to regions considered medium to high risk for contracting COVID-19, including the Binhai New Area in Tianjin city, Pudong New Area in Shanghai, Gengma Dai and Va County in Yunnan Province, and Yingshang County in Anhui Province—all with recent outbreaks.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. The virus first appeared in Wuhan, Hubei’s capital, in late 2019.

A staff at the disease prevention and control center in Fengshan town located in Luotian county, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that people returning to the town from medium to high-risk areas would be subjected to 14-day self-quarantine. Additionally, they will have to pay for their own COVID-19 tests.

The staff revealed that some people returning from Shanghai were placed under quarantine.

At the time of writing, Luotian County officials have not reported a single recent confirmed infection case on its website or its Weibo account.

Li Hua (a pseudonym), a resident of Huanggang city, also in Luotian County, said local officials would not have imposed warlike measures for no reason.

“I believe there must have been some infection cases, but they are not being reported,” Li said. “Based on what has happened in the past, there are infections but they have not led to an eruption of cases yet.”

Contacted by The Epoch Times, an employee at the Luotian’s People’s Hospital said many people were getting tested for the virus every day.

The lockdown measures were taking a toll on people’s livelihood. A local restaurant owner said that because customers needed to show their health codes before they could dine, fewer out-of-town people have visited.

Amid the pandemic, Beijing has required citizens to download apps that will generate a digital three-color health code. After inputting one’s health information, the apps determine whether the user could travel freely or stay in quarantine. Such tracking of people’s movements has caused some privacy concerns.

Wuhan

Meanwhile, locals in Wuhan have expressed concerns that their city might see a resurgence of the virus, following how local health officials handled two separate COVID-19 incidents.

On Nov. 10, health officials in Qianjiang City, which is about a two-hour drive from Wuhan, reported a 52-year-old man surnamed Wang was infected with the virus. Wang traveled to Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, from Kazakhstan on Oct. 16. He tested positive for the virus the next day and was then placed in quarantine. He was released from quarantine after testing negative on Oct. 31.

Wang then took a flight to Wuhan on Nov. 1 and took the city’s metro to return to his home in Qianjiang. As part of local health prevention measures, he tested for the virus again on Nov. 10 and this time, the result was positive.

On Nov. 11, Qianjiang’s health officials announced that they tested 387 people in Wang’s neighborhood and claimed all of them tested negative.

A Wuhan resident named Tian Lei (a pseudonym) said many people riding on Wuhan’s metro didn’t wear masks, and said the risk of other commuters contracting the virus from Wang could be significant.

Tian also questioned whether local officials were thorough in their investigation of finding people that had come in contact with Wang, since he traveled on public transportation, with high human traffic flow.

“The risk of [the virus’] resurgence is very great,” Tian concluded.

Recently, a Wuhan resident who wished to remain anonymous shared with the Chinese-language Epoch Times a community notice, dated Nov. 11,  posted in Jianghan district in Wuhan. The notice announced that a local was infected with the virus, and that local communities were placed under “seal-off management” as a result. It also asked people to contact local authorities if they had a fever or a cough.

The next day, Jianghan district officials issued an announcement on its Weibo account, saying that the community notice was a “prop for a simulation exercise” to practice health prevention efforts. Officials added that the message in the notice was made up and urged people not to panic.

Tian expressed doubts that the notice was merely a “prop.”

“The Wuhan [government] has been promoting its achievements [of containing the spread of the virus], and it doesn’t want any new infections [to become publicly known],“ Tian said.

Tian added that he was not surprised that officials would try to refute claims in the notice. “They have lied about these things before.”

Authorities’ initial coverup of the CCP virus has been well-documented. Wuhan police silenced eight doctors, among them ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, after they took to Chinese social media to warn about a new form of viral pneumonia in late December.

Li was summoned to a local police station for “rumor-mongering.” He died a month later after contracting the virus from an infected patient.

Follow Frank on Twitter: @HwaiDer