Beijing Shuts Down Whole Districts as Fresh Outbreak Spreads Through Capital

By Sunny Chao | December 6, 2021
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The Shijiazhuang railway station was empty during the spring festival travel season because of COVID-19 on Jan. 27, 2021 in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China.
The Shijiazhuang railway station was empty during the spring festival travel season because of COVID-19 on Jan. 27, 2021 in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China. (Image: TPG via Getty Images)

In the past few days, more COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in China, the latest stemming from Inner Mongolia’s city of Manzhouli. The Epoch Times reported that this newest outbreak has now spread to the cities of Qiqihar and Harbin in Heilongjiang Province. Beijing has confirmed cases within its borders as well.

On Dec. 2, a male visitor from Harbin staying in the district of Haidian in Beijing tested positive for the virus. The individual, whose name was not revealed, had been in contact with a COVID-positive patient in Harbin on Nov. 26. He then took a flight from Harbin, where he resides, to Beijing Daxing International Airport on Nov. 28 and stayed at Building No.7 in the East District of Kunyufu in Haidian, Beijing. 

Extreme measures

An eyewitness who works at a nearby shop, told the Epoch Times that in the afternoon of Dec. 3, a sign was posted that read: “No stores were allowed to open yesterday (Dec.2). Nucleic Acid Amplification tests have been completed on all affected individuals. The back door of small districts in Kunyufu have been sealed. No entry or exit is allowed. A confirmed case was found in Building No. 7. All residents in the whole building are to be quarantined at home.” The eyewitness declined to be identified and used a pseudonym of Qiu Xue.

Zhang Kaidong, another resident who lives in a nearby building, said no one is allowed to enter or exit Building No. 7, where the Harbin visitor had stayed. “He doesn’t even live here,” Zhang said, adding that the individual probably came to visit relatives in Beijing. Zhang also declined to be identified and used a pseudonym. 

“The notice stated that he was a close contact and tested positive for Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT). The outbreak in Harbin has not been stopped. As Harbin is a mid to high risk area, people from there are supposed to self-quarantine for 14 days when visiting Beijing, but he went to many places here when staying in Building No. 7. All places that he visited have been sealed off.” Zhang said. 

Zhang also said residents in Beijing are now starting to feel more panicked. “We are near Building No. 7. Barricade tape was hung in front of the building. Most people don’t walk this way now. There are many policemen and police cars outside. People who don’t know the situation will feel afraid, wondering what happened here.” he said.

Chinese authorities have been known to seal off entire districts, and sometimes even cities, when a new case is confirmed.

The latest outbreak reportedly began in Inner Mongolia’s Manzhouli city, spreading through Heilongjiang Province before ending up in Beijing, where it has triggered sweeping lockdowns. (Image: Chinese social media)

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A similar incident occurred last month in Jilin province where dozens of children were held inside a Chinese primary school after one staff member tested positive for the virus.

The children were tested and reportedly told to wait in the school overnight until their results came out. Parents were then told they had to quarantine their children after picking them up. 

Starting at midnight on Dec. 2, the following places in Harbin city have been deemed mid to high risk areas: 

Longxin Jiayuan Community in Daowai District, Aidazunyu Community in Nangang District, Jungui Dongfang Ruijing Community, Huahong Golden Berlin Community Building 10, Lushang Songjiang New Town, Guoqing Street 2 No. 4, No. 6 and Wenjiao Street, No. 2 to No. 26, Banwei Building, Baling Street 84 to Guangguang Street and Baling Street to Guangguang Street 68, Banwei Building, Xinsong Maoyueshan 2, Xiangfang District Period, Dongsheng Jiayuan Community, and No.123 in Caiyi Street.

On Dec. 3, Harbin Children’s Hospital affiliated with Harbin Medical University announced a temporary closure of medical services due to the uptick of confirmed cases. 

The newest confirmed case in Manzhouli was identified as an individual surnamed Zhang. It was reported that Zhang had close contact with three confirmed cases in Harbin and together they had spent time in airports, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets. The group had also rented a car and visited night time establishments. In addition, one of the confirmed cases was identified as Mr. Fu, a friend of Zhang’s. Fu had allegedly chosen to deliberately conceal his travel history and potential exposure with infected patients. 

Harsh punishments

According to the official distribution report about Fu’s case, Zhang of Manzhouli arrived at the Harbin airport from Manzhouli on Nov. 26 at 11 a.m. and went to a karaoke club called “Private Order KTV.” A total of five women and three men accompanied him. In the early morning, Fu returned to a nearby hotel called the Crystal Orange.

On the morning of Nov. 27, Fu returned to Private Order KTV and picked up Zhang to have breakfast. After that, Fu visited a dentist and on the evening of Nov. 27, along with a group of friends, drove a private car back to Manzhouli. On Nov. 28, Fu returned to Harbin from Manzhouli.

State media, Upstream News reported that the district Fu had stayed in was completely sealed off. A barricade was placed outside the district with a sign that read “Sealed and under control.” The report also added that the karaoke facility and hotel Fu had visited were in the same building. At present, the two businesses have been closed. The dental clinic and restaurants that the individuals visited were also temporarily closed. 

According to local authorities, Fu is currently under investigation for concealing his travel history and could be subject to hefty fines for disrupting public order.

A reporter from the Epoch Times called the karaoke facility that Fu and his friends visited but received no response. Other calls made to the Harbin CDC also went unanswered. 

Alina Wang contributed to this report.