China’s Covid instances in Guangzhou enhance as authorities tighten measures

People in Liwan District were given nucleic acid tests on May 26, 2021 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China.

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GUANGZHOU, China – Guangzhou police have arrested people for violating Covid prevention laws as the southern Chinese city grapples with an outbreak of the Delta variant first identified in India.

Authorities in the city of more than 15 million people have swiftly launched mass tests and lockdowns on local areas since discovering the first local case of the Delta variant in China in Guangzhou on May 21.

Since then, through midnight on June 8, Guangzhou had a total of 115 cases – most in all of Guangdong Province, which includes the Shenzhen Technology Center. It started with a 75-year-old woman who went to a restaurant.

The recent flare-up is cause for concern as the Delta variant is known to be highly transferable.

After the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan last year, China largely managed to get it under control. Life in the world’s second largest economy has been relatively normal for over a year, but widespread use of the Delta variant could threaten that. So far it has been included in Guangdong.

Cases continue to emerge, however, mainly in hotspots Liwan to the west of Guangzhou and Haizhu and Nansha to the south. The authorities are fighting to contain the spread.

Parts of Liwan have been locked, which means that residents cannot enter or leave a certain zone. Shops were closed. In various areas of the city, restaurants have been forced to shut down dine-in service and instead move to outdoor or take-away meals.

Authorities have also carried out mass tests on residents for the past two weeks. Over 27 million people have been tested since May 26.

However, since the government is concerned about the spread of the Delta variant, the authorities have asked citizens to do their part or to punish themselves criminally.

For the past 24 hours, official Guangzhou government channels have posted articles reminding people of the laws on popular messaging app WeChat.

Chen Bin, the assistant director of Guangzhou City Health Commission, said Tuesday that people who do not cooperate with the city’s attempts to eradicate the virus face “legal liability” including fines and imprisonment.

Violations of the law include wearing masks in public places, failing to cooperate with asking for a coronavirus test, failing to comply when a person has been asked to be isolated and quarantined, and spreading false information.

Guangzhou police said they have investigated six cases related to epidemic prevention and control violations.

One of the cases involved a man who was staying in a hotel in a Guangzhou district. He was asked to take a coronavirus test but declined. After an hour of persuasion, the police managed to get the man out of his room, but he refused to be tested, according to the Guangzhou Health Commission. He is said to have stabbed a police officer with a fork. The man was arrested.

Another case involved a man who kept silent about having had contact with people with confirmed coronavirus cases. He was also arrested by the police.

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