COVID Testing Rules and Makeshift Hospitals Rile Shanghai Residents

By Luo Ya
Luo Ya
Luo Ya
Luo Ya is a freelance contributor to The Epoch Times.
and Lin Cenxin
Lin Cenxin
Lin Cenxin
April 21, 2022Updated: April 21, 2022

Shanghai residents who have said they have recovered from COVID are being sent to makeshift hospitals—called ‘fangcangs’—against their will.

The city of some 26 million people has been in various stages of strict lockdown under the Chinese regime’s “Zero-COVID” policy for the past several weeks.

During this time officials have been mechanically following orders resulting in residents who earlier had the virus being forced to go to a fangcang for quarantine even though their tests proved negative after a required period of self-isolation.

If someone is told they must go to a fangcang but doesn’t they will be punished with a recent official Shanghai document stating: “Those who refuse to go to a fangcang will be capped with a red QR code forever.”

A red QR code restricts a person’s mobility.

After the pandemic began, China adopted a cell phone QR code system that allows the authorities to track and monitor people’s whereabouts. The system issues green, yellow, and red codes. People must have a green code to go to public places and for travel purposes.

Shanghai resident Ms. Ge (pseudonym) told the Chinese Epoch Times that her antigen test was negative after getting over a bout of COVID in self-isolation, but police threatened to take legal action against her if she refused to go to a fangcang.

Ge said she earlier tested positive for COVID via a PCR test on April 4 which resulted in her door being immediately sealed by the community committee. Living by herself she was isolated until April 17 when she had an antigen test which was negative.

That same day police visited her and insisted that she now needed to go to a fangcang.

She said that someone should only go to a fangcang if they have a positive result but the police warned that if she refused to go, legal action would be taken against her.

That evening, Ge told The Epoch Times, that the police were acting in a lawless manner.

“I have been complying with the home isolation all this time and stayed at home all by myself. Why do they insist on wasting the public resources and having me go to fangcang?” she asked.

“My antigen test turned negative. If my test turns positive again because of staying at the fangcang, I will sue them.”

Epoch Times Photo
In this image taken from a video provided by Beibei, who asked to be identified only by her given name, residents take a rest at the National Exhibition and Convention Center which converted to a quarantine facility set up for people who tested positive but have few or no symptoms on April 15, 2022, in Shanghai. (Beibei via AP)

Widespread Phenomenon

Many online videos have revealed chaotic situations and cases associated with fangcangs.

Recently, a Shanghai resident complained through an online video that three of her family members were forced to go to a fangcang even after their PCR tests had turned negative.

In the video, a hotline call center’s response to her was that only PCR tests done at a fangcang will be recognized, and a green QR code will be issued according to those test results.

“Is it for political purposes, or is it because there are too many shelter hospitals in Shanghai?” she asked the staff on the call.

quarantine center
Photos of a quarantine center in the Pudong district in Shanghai, in early April 2022. (Screenshot via Weibo)

Restriction of Mobility

A notice issued by a neighborhood committee in Shanghai’s Hongkou District confirmed that someone who tested positive but who later tests negative via antigen self-test after isolation still has to go to a fangcang.

“The doctor will not come to do a re-test, the isolation will not be lifted, and the confirmed individual must go to fangcang and get cured before an isolation release form will be issued,” the notice said.

The notice also said if anyone refuses to go to fangcang then their entire building will be kept under lockdown.

“Those who do not go to fangcang will always have a red QR code capped for life,” the notice read.

Ma Yalian, an accountant, told the Chinese Epoch Times that sending people who have turned negative to a fangcang for collective quarantine reflects a stiff and incompetent bureaucracy.

She said a friend in Xuhui District experienced a similar situation where the local community committee insisted that she must go to fangcang, otherwise, even if she’s tested negative after self-isolation, she would be capped forever with a red QR code that would restrict her mobility.

Since the outbreak, “none of the containment policy is logical,” she stated.

Mary Hong contributed to this report.

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