A worker disinfects the queue area of a swab test collection site for COVID-19 in Beijing on May 11, 2022. -AFP
Thousands of COVID-negative Beijing residents were forcibly relocated to quarantine hotels overnight due to a handful of infections, as the capital begins to take more extreme control measures resembling virus-hit Shanghai.
Beijing has been battling its worst outbreak since the pandemic started. The Omicron variant has infected more than 1,300 since late April, leading city restaurants, schools and tourist attractions to be closed indefinitely.
China's strategy to achieve zero-COVID cases includes strict border closures, lengthy quarantines, mass testing and rapid, targeted lockdowns.
More than 13,000 residents of the locked-down Nanxinyuan residential compound in southeast Beijing were relocated to quarantine hotels overnight Friday due to 26 new infections discovered in recent days, according to photos and a government notice widely shared on social media. "Experts have determined that all Nanxinyuan residents undergo centralized quarantine beginning midnight May 21 for seven days," authorities from Chaoyang district said Friday. "Please cooperate; otherwise you will bear the corresponding legal consequences." Social media photos showed hundreds of residents with luggage queuing in the dark to board coaches parked outside the compound.
"Some of us have been locked down for 28 days since Apr 23, and we all tested negative throughout," wrote one resident on the Twitter-like Weibo.
"A lot of my neighbors are elderly or have young children." "The transfer really makes us feel like we're in a wartime scene," resident and real estate blogger Liu Guangyu posted on Weibo early Saturday. Last month, thousands of negative Shanghai residents were bused to makeshift quarantine centers hundreds of kilometers away as the metropolis of 25 million doubled down on efforts to contain the spread of the virus.