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Over 20,000 People Quarantined In Beijing Changping District; Hebei Province Locks Down 40 Residential Communities

Juliet Wei covers China news and U.S.-China relations and has worked as a correspondent with Senate and House Correspondent Credential at Washington DC. She holds an M.A. in Specialized Journalism from the University of Southern California.
Published: October 28, 2021
Over 20,000 People Quarantined In Beijing Changping District
Community workers with protective suits in Hongfuyuan residential community in Beiqijia Township, Chang Ping District, Beijing on the occasion of over 20,000 people that had to be quarantined (Image: Reuters)

In China, more than 23,000 people in Beijing’s Changping urban district have been quarantined; the Hongfu Yuan community was locked down, and its surrounding business centers were forced to close after only a handful of COVID-19 cases were detected.

Two Covid cases have been reported in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei province, but the official prevention action that followed the discovery of the cases was very unusual. 

Not only were approximately 40 residential areas locked down but nearly 2,000 people were taken away to be quarantined. Netizens captured video of a long line of ambulances. Shoppers rushed to local supermarkets clearing shelves in a panic until they were nearly empty.

According to the National Health Commission of China (NHC) on Oct. 26, there were 59 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in China, of which 50 were local cases. Only three cases were reported in Beijing, two cases in Changping District and one case in Shijiazhuang, Hebei.

While two cases were reported in Shijiazhuang by official channels on October 24 and 40 residential areas were locked down with long lines of ambulances on the street, it is hard to believe that only one new case was officially  announced on October 26. In other words, the prevention action is not proportional to the number of cases reported.

Chinese officials have not yet stated the source of the new pandemic. 

Over 20,000 people quarantined in Changping District, Beijing

On Oct. 23, the community of Hongfuyuan in Changping District, Beijing was upgraded to a “high-risk area”, according to Xinjing News.

The Changping District officially issued a notice on the evening of Oct. 23 stating that all citizens in the area should not leave Changping or Beijing unless necessary. The notice read, “The pandemic is widespread, the chain of spread is complex, the situation is very serious, and the risk is all around.”

It was also reported that there are 117 buildings in the Hong Fu Yuan community affected by the measures. More than 23,000 residents in the community are now forced to be isolated in their homes. The entrances and exits of the community have been closed. Only the two north and south gates are reserved as storage points to ensure the delivery of take-out, courier, and covid-prevention supplies.

The Hongfu Yuan community in Beijing’s Changping urban district was locked down. More than 23,000 people were quarantined. (Photo from Reuter)

The shops around that residential community are all closed. Beijing Wangfu Hospital for Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, which is 5 kilometers away from the area, is also closed.

As the confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to emerge in Beijing, Xu Hejian, Deputy Minister of the Propaganda Department of the Beijing Municipal Committee, admitted on Oct. 25 that the risks and pressures on Beijing are increasing.

Hebei’s Shijiazhuang locked down 40 Residential Areas;  Longlines of ambulances appear on the street

In addition to the rising epidemic around Beijing, COVID-19 in Shijiazhuang, Hebei also seems to be highly unusual. Recently, 40 residential areas were locked down and about 2,000 people were driven away for centralized quarantine.  A long line of ambulances was seen parked along the street, and more than 500,000 people were tested for nucleic acid. The authorities no longer mention the vaccination rate or whether the patients had been vaccinated.

Netizens captured video of a long line of ambulances(Photo from video by netizen)

According to the video posted by netizens, the government officials and executives of companies were also living in the closed residential areas.

Shijiazhuang residents who experienced the outbreak last year are rushing to buy food in supermarkets, causing many groceries on the shelves to be snapped up.

Residential areas were locked down and people been driven away for quarantine. Groceries on the shelves have been snapped up(Photo from video by netizen)

Twitter shortens relevant posts and pictures as the “includes potentially sensitive content”

Twitter censored posts and pictures referring to “40 residential areas locked down” and the “long line of Ambulances” displaying instead a shortened one-sentence statement saying, “the following media includes potentially sensitive content”. If readers click a button labeled “View” they are able to view the posts.