Chinese officials sorry for Covid-19 break-ins amid hunt for close contacts


Chinese officials have apologised to residents of a locked-down community in Guangzhou for removing the locks on the doors to their homes.

Officials were searching for close contacts who may have been hiding in an attempt to avoid being moved to a quarantine centre as a number of persons at the apartment complex in the southern Chinese city had recently tested positive for Covid.

Those affected by the break-ins have been told that they will be compensated for the damage.

According to local media, the locks were broken on the front doors of at least 84 homes by grassroots officials and community workers.

The incident happened on 10 July, soon after several people at the complex had tested positive for the virus.

Residents were moved to a centralized quarantine facility, but “some close contacts were found hiding in their houses”, leading to searches of other homes for “hidden residents”.

The incident had sparked an angry outcry, with many calling for those involved to be arrested for illegal entry, given that trespassing falls under China’s criminal law.

Meanwhile, the district government in Guangzhou’s Liwan District says the break-ins “deviated from the requirements of epidemic prevention” as it apologized yesterday, adding that an investigation would be carried out, and those involved punished.

China has maintained a strict zero-Covid policy throughout the pandemic. Whole communities are locked down when residents test positive. They are then either restricted from leaving their homes, or moved to quarantine bases.

Very little notice is often given before a lockdown, often triggering anger and anxiety. Some lockdowns have lasted for months, as in the city of Shanghai earlier this year.

Currently, there are more than 1,000 locked-down communities in the country, as outbreaks have raged due to the highly-transmissible Omicron subvariants.


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