The Beijing city government has enacted a new law requiring residents to wear protective masks if diagnosed with “infectious respiratory diseases” and also mandating that people cover their nose and mouth when coughing.
Though the city government did not specify that the law was enacted to contain the CCP virus, the new regulations come just days after the government publicly announced that Chaoyang district in Beijing would be designated as the country’s only region at “high risk” of a CCP virus outbreak.
The Epoch Times also obtained internal government documents from Chaoyang city, showing that authorities have put in place strict quarantine measures, in an attempt to prevent the virus from further spreading.
Since the virus first broke out in the central city of Wuhan, Beijing has reported very few infections.
Between April 16 to 26, Beijing has not announced any new infections, but residents told The Epoch Times that they did not believe the government’s figures.
Delegates who represent Beijing’s rubber-stamp legislature enacted a new law “to promote civilized behavior” on April 24, which will become effective on June 1.
Under the new law, city residents must also follow the government’s quarantine and testing arrangements if they come down with an infectious disease; no one is allowed to eat inside the subway; and when eating inside a restaurant, people must not share utensils.
In China, people usually wear masks in the winter to keep warm. In general, people don’t have the habit of wearing a mask when they have a cold or flu. Also, people usually share dishes when dining outside. They typically use their chopsticks to pick up food from shared dishes, potentially sharing germs.
The law also stipulates that people cannot spread “rumors” or expose others’ information online.
The government said these rules were issued to prevent an epidemic.
After Beijing announced a cluster outbreak in a family where four members were diagnosed on April 15, it designated Chaoyang district as a “high-risk region.”
However, cities with more infections, such as districts within Harbin and Suifenhe cities in northern Heilongjiang Province, as well as Guangzhou and Jieyang cities in southern Guangdong Province, were marked as “medium risk regions.”
Mrs. Chen, a resident in Chaoyang district, said in an interview: “All residential compounds around me check people’s phones [to scan their health code and home address] at the entrance. Only people who live inside can enter,” she told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on April 22. She believed the situation was more severe than the Beijing government let on.
Another Chaoyang resident, Mr. Zhang, said: “The neighborhoods around Dongdaqiao, Wuji street, Gaojiayuan, and Chaoyang Hospital are more dangerous places in Chaoyang district. [Local authorities] told us to avoid going to those places … Then, we all know what that means.” He surmised that the neighborhoods mentioned above might already have outbreaks.
Meanwhile, the Beijing municipal education commission announced on April 23 that the seniors in high school need to return to school on April 27. Before the end of January, all schools in Beijing were closed for the Lunar New Year. Since then, no schools have opened.
Li Yi, a spokesman of the commission, said at a press conference that there were 51,226 senior high school students in Beijing. Of the senior students, 1,247 could not return to school on time; more than 800 of them were under quarantine due to the CCP virus, while over 300 students were out of town and were unable to return to Beijing due to local quarantine policies.
Li did not explain how many students were placed under quarantine because they came back to Beijing from another city, nor how many students were under quarantine because they were infected or were close contacts of diagnosed patients.
People who arrive from other areas of China, aside from Wuhan, are asked to self-isolate at home.
On April 20, a netizen posted online a video, showing a couple and their child being forced to move to a quarantine center from their home in Chaoyang district.
The Epoch Times obtained a series of internal documents from the Chaoyang district government, showing that authorities are anxious to prevent the spreading of the virus.
One document dated April 19 listed how many people were being quarantined in all 43 neighborhoods.
The document listed people who must be isolated at quarantine centers for 21 days. Those who entered Beijing from another country (type A); people who arrived from Wuhan (type B); their close contacts (type C), and (type D), virus patients discharged from hospitals. Authorities are likely monitoring the last group for the potential to relapse.
Their quarantine health condition is recorded in two phases: within the first 14 days and in the third week.
On April 19, there were 3,357 people under quarantine in the district, and the majority of them—1,977—were from Wuhan.
A document released on March 26 showed that other populations also had to be isolated at quarantine centers: close contacts of diagnosed patients, people who had developed a fever, and so on.
According to the documents, on April 19, Beijing authorities also required eight groups of people to perform a nucleic acid test, including people who develop fevers, need hospital treatment, and recently traveled elsewhere. People must pay for the test themselves.
Harbin and Mudanjiang cities in Heilongjiang Province reported new domestic infections on April 26. But authorities did not report any details about the infections. The Epoch Times previously reported that Harbin authorities kept internal data that were far higher than publicly announced figures.
The cities of Suihua and Daqing, also in Heilongjiang, also have newly diagnosed patients.
Shenyang is the capital city of another northeastern province, Liaoning. On April 24, a doctor who works at Liaoning People’s Hospital tested positive for CCP virus antibodies, indicating that she might have been infected. Authorities explained that she contracted the virus while visiting Harbin.
Authorities claimed she was not contagious. However, local medical staff who spoke with the Chinese-language Epoch Times said that tens of thousands of medical staff and patients had visited local hospitals to get a diagnostic test, as they are worried they may have contracted the virus.
A doctor working at a Shenyang hospital told the Chinese-language Epoch Times that a portion of the Liaoning People’s Hospital was shut down after the doctor tested positive.
Meanwhile, on April 23, Chinese state-run media reported that Chinese vice premier Sun Chunlan and a team of medical experts visited Yunnan Province to guide local authorities on preventing and controlling the CCP virus outbreak.
Since Wuhan was locked down in January, Sun had been working in Wuhan for two months.
All media have since removed the related reports about her visit to Yunnan, but news of Beijing medical specialist An Youzhong going to Yunnan together with Sun on April 21 was not removed.