Seventy-two Chinese regions were designated as high- or medium-risk for virus spread by local governments on Jan. 24, which means residents in those areas aren’t allowed to leave their homes and no public transportation can operate.
Some locals also reported lockdowns in neighborhoods that weren’t noted by local governments, leading them to suspect that authorities were covering up outbreaks.
In many cases, authorities didn’t give people enough time to prepare, leading many people to not have enough food to eat, sick people not having access to medicine, and babies without sufficient formula to drink, according to social media posts.
Tongliao city in Jilin Province, for example, was locked down just three hours after authorities announced the decision on Jan. 18. On Jan. 22, local officials sealed the doors of about 360,000 residents of the city’s Dongchang district.
People from Dongchang district commented under the posts of state-run media People’s Daily and Xinhua on Chinese social media platform Weibo, pleading for food and necessary medicines.
On Jan. 24, Beijing’s city government announced that a resident from the Yunlifang community in Daxing district was diagnosed with COVID-19. This was the first announced diagnosis in Yunlifang. Authorities swiftly designated the Ronghui community in Daxing district as a high-risk region, while two villages in Shunyi district were designated as medium-risk.
Local authorities had already locked down five communities in Daxing on Jan. 19, adding 11 more communities and villages.
“They sealed our doors at 6 a.m. this morning and told us that all villagers cannot leave our homes,” a resident of Haizijiao village in Daxing surnamed Wu (pseudonym) told the Chinese-language Epoch Times in a phone interview on Jan. 23.
Wu added that all residents in Daxing are being ordered to take a COVID-19 test daily. She and her fellow villagers were tested three times in recent days.
“There’s no announced infection from our village, but we were locked down at home. The key issue for us is that we can’t go out to work but need to buy the food that has become so expensive,” Wu said. She said that sometimes there is no food available to buy.
Residents from the Ronghui residential compound, where the regime announced dozens of infections, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that all residents have been relocated to centralized quarantine centers.
“They [officials] didn’t allow us to bring our pets, but would quarantine us for 21 days,” one resident said. “I had to leave a lot of cat food, dog food, and water for my cat and dog. I hope they won’t die.”
Meanwhile, since Jan. 22, all residents in the Dongcheng and Xicheng districts—with a total population of more than 2 million—have been required to take nucleic acid testing. Many had to brave long lines amid the cold weather.
Also on Jan. 24, the Shanghai city government designated the Guixi residential compound in Huangpu district a medium-risk region. As of press time, officials had announced four medium-risk sectors in the Huangpu and Baoshan districts.
However, Shanghai residents told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that more regions in the city than that have been locked down.
“They locked down the areas by Dahuakou and Lingshi roads in Baoshan district, close to the border to Putuo district, and Zhabei Park in Jing’an district,” Ms. He said on Jan. 23.
The medium-risk regions that authorities announced are located about 6 to 15 miles away from the areas Ms. He described. Officials haven’t announced any infections in the regions mentioned by Ms. He.
“It’s definitely that [authorities] diagnosed some residents with COVID-19 in our areas, but they didn’t announce it,” He said.
Ms. Wang, from the Jing’an district, said that she heard about a woman who suddenly lost consciousness while lining up to buy medicine at a local pharmacy on Jan. 21.
“The outbreak is in the busiest areas of Shanghai. We are scared. The only thing we can do is to avoid going out,” Wang said.
Many of the interviewees from Shanghai said they don’t believe the official announcements have been fully transparent.