A local official in northeastern China’s Shenyang city who handles quarantine said that dozens of local quarantine centers were overwhelmed with people who were suspected to have COVID-19. At least four local government officials were among those confined, he said in a recent interview.
Although the central government announced few new infections in Shenyang, locals told The Epoch Times in interviews that the atmosphere in the city was very tense and the CCP virus outbreak was severe.
Parts of Shenyang have been on lockdown since late December due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
On the afternoon of Jan. 6, deputy director of Shenyang’s transportation bureau Shi Jun said at a press conference that all residents in areas designated as high and medium-risk for virus spread would not be allowed to leave the city. Other residents can leave the city if they presented a negative nucleic acid test result that was issued within the past 72 hours.
On Friday, Shenyang changed two neighborhoods in Yuhong district from medium-risk to low-risk but still required residents of the neighborhoods to be confined at home for another seven days.
Shenyang still had 14 neighborhoods designated as medium-risk regions located in Huanggu, Yuhong, and Tiexi districts. In those areas, residents are not allowed to leave their homes.
A spokesperson of Shenyang’s Health Commission Mao Yinbai announced at a Friday press conference that authorities will pick up one swab sample from every resident in medium-risk regions. Officials will visit their homes every 48 hours.
Mao added that all residents and villagers in low-risk regions would need to test for COVID-19 within the next 72 hours.
Chinese authorities typically do not conduct mass testing for low-risk regions, suggesting that the outbreak in Shenyang was more severe than officials let on.
A Shenyang netizen recently shared a video with The Epoch Times, showing people busy with construction work inside a building. The netizen said it was shot inside the No. 6 Hospital of Shenyang on Jan. 4, and that the people were building a makeshift facility for COVID-19 patients. The information could not be independently verified.
Overcrowded Quarantine Centers
The official from Shenyang, who wished to remain anonymous, said in a Jan. 7 interview that more hospital beds were urgently needed, as well as more quarantine centers, especially in Huanggu district.
He said the quarantine centers in Huanggu were over-capacity. “There are 15 quarantine centers in Huanggu district. Now, 1,293 people are quarantined there,” the insider said, which is more than the normal capacity.
Chinese authorities usually convert hotels into makeshift quarantine centers. To avoid cross infections, one person or one family is quarantined per room.
The official said Zhixuan Holiday Inn in Huanggu has the capacity to quarantine 264 people at one time. But there are currently over 300 inside.
Mingcheng Jinjiang International Hotel has the capacity to house 127 guests, but is quarantining 145 people now, while Jinjiang Zhixing Pinshang Hotel can quarantine 70 people, but now has roughly 90 people, he said.
The official added that quarantine centers in other districts and counties were in similar situations.
He also said he knew of four officials from Huanggu district who were being quarantined because they are close contacts of diagnosed COVID-19 patients.
One works at the citizen calling center at the district’s petition bureau, while another works at the petition bureau itself. Two others work at the commerce bureau.
“All other officials and staff who work at the petition and commerce bureaus were asked to be tested as key suspected patients,” the insider added.
The Epoch Times contacted both bureaus by phone. The receptionists refused to provide details and did not confirm or deny the insider’s claims. But they said all staff were currently self-quarantining at home.