Social media videos show that sprawling quarantine camps with rows of cramped metal boxes have sprung up in China to house people suspected of having COVID-19.
The Communist country is working to eliminate the virus despite the Omicron variant spreading much more aggressively than previous variants. This makes China’s Zero COVID strategy seemingly impossible, even with the draconian measures used by Beijing.
There are now more than 20 million people in a complete lockdown in China after Anyang and Yuzhou joined the 13 million residents of Xi’an. Under the lockdown, residents are banned from leaving their homes even to buy food.
Anyang, a city of over five million residents, was locked down late Monday after two cases of the omicron variant were reported. Some residents of locked-down cities have told the BBC that they were part of a “big transfer” of thousands of residents to the quarantine camps.
It is believed that pregnant women, children, and seniors are among those that have been confined to the Xi’an camps.
Residents of the camps have been sharing small glimpses of the horrors of detention in the Xi’an quarantine facilities.
Videos shared online show people in small metal boxes furnished with a wooden bed, a sink, and a toilet. Many are forced to remain as long as two weeks in what they described as a cold, uncomfortable space.
Images also circulated from the detainees showing workers in hazmat suits distributing food to the residents of the camps. However, residents claimed to have little food provided over their two-week stay.
Residents of a local housing compound near Xi’an reported that they were notified they had to leave their homes in the middle of the night on January 1 to be transported to the quarantine camp.
Witnesses claimed 30 buses arrived in the area to transport detainees. Another person told the BBC that 1,000 people were transferred.
The Zero-COVID strategy of China continues to expand as the Omicron variant impacts china. With the Winter Olympics just weeks away, in Beijing, the country is attempting to eradicate the virus.