'Chilling' video reveals China's 'scary' plan amid Covid wave
It's a sight eerily similar to when the virus first ripped through Wuhan communities in the first weeks of 2020.
But nearly three years on, rows and rows of quarantine facilities for Covid patients have emerged once more.
It's a daunting sign there is little room for manoeuvre when it comes to China's zero-Covid strategy, despite unprecedented social opposition and a slight easing of draconian measures.
A bullish President Xi Jinping has remained undeterred and has repeatedly stated his desire to protect the health of the nation. Yet that stance appears increasingly precarious.
News of Guangzhou's push for quarantine facilities that can accomodate up to 250,000 as it battles a surging wave of infection came last month, however video of some of the facilities is now filtering onto Western social media, and as you can expect, prompting disbelief.
"Chilling, disturbing and dystopian," one person wrote on Twitter in response to video from the southern mega city.
"The world is getting scarier by the day," another said.
Yahoo found limited trace of state-media material covering the facilities on Chinese social media, a vastly different situation to previous outbreaks where China boasted of its prevention methods. It's likely a move not to rile already-disgruntled residents ready to move on from quarantine and lockdowns.
One report says patients were admitted to the largest facility, the Guangzhou Nansha Health Station, on November 28, which has more than 80,000 beds. The facilities have been built in just weeks.
China is averaging more than 35,000 cases a day, a fraction of the waves previously seen in some Western countries considering its population of 1.4 billion.
Guangzhou City, China 🇨🇳
90,000 isolation pods. pic.twitter.com/mbwDjGbDbi
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) November 29, 2022
China may ease tight rules soon
Experts have warned China cannot keep the Omicron variant at bay, with Chinese health officials carefully assessing how to move forward.
Although last month's protests largely subsided amid a heavy police presence across major cities, regional authorities have since cut back on lockdowns, quarantine rules and testing requirements to varying degrees. Top officials have also softened their tone on the dangers posed by the virus.
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And a new set of nationwide rules is due to be announced soon, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, paving the way for more coordinated easing.
As infections rise, putting pressure on China's medical infrastructure, mild and asymptomatic cases should quarantine at home, Feng Zijian, former deputy head of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Paper.
Alongside the easing in different cities, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who oversees China's COVID efforts, said last week the ability of the virus to cause disease was weakening.
Professor Catherine Bennett, Chair of Epidemiology at Deakin University, told Yahoo there was a level of secrecy regarding the progression of China's vaccine development, yet questioned even if they were able to improve what was previously an inferior vaccine to Western-developed ones, there could be poor uptake from residents.
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