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China quarantine bus crash prompts protest against ‘zero COVID’

Taipei – Bus accident at night killed 27 people Southwestern China has seen a storm of online anger this week over the severity of the country’s draconian COVID-19 policies.

The initial police report did not specify who the passengers were or where they were going, but later confirmed they were heading to a quarantine station outside Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province. It became clear.

A bus with 47 people on board crashed around 2:40 am on Sunday. City officials announced hours later that the passengers were under “medical observation”, confirming reports that they had been taken into quarantine.

Following public outrage, Guiyang dismissed three officials in Yunyan District, where residents were arrested, the provincial government said on Monday. The deputy mayor of Guiyang apologized at a press conference, bowed and offered a moment of silence.

Online, many questioned the logic behind moving people out of Guiyang, accusing the government of moving them to keep the city from reporting new cases.

“Is this the end? Every day there are all sorts of pandemic prevention situations in the top searches[on social media]causing unnecessary panic and making people uneasy,” one person wrote. “Is there any scientific justification for transporting people to quarantine stations one after another?”

Officials in Guiyang said the city would achieve “social zero COVID” by Monday, the day after the crash.

The phrase means that new infections will only be found among people already under surveillance, such as those in central quarantine facilities or those who have been in close contact with existing patients, so the virus is no longer It does not spread to the local community.

China has managed the pandemic through a series of measures known as “clear to zero” or “zero COVID” that are maintained through strict lockdowns and mass testing.

This approach saved lives before a vaccine was widely available, as people refrained from public gatherings and wore masks regularly. Having eased some, China has stuck to its zero COVID strategy.

China has said it will shorten quarantine times and begin issuing student visas for arrivals from abroad, but at home the policy remains strict. I am concerned about the implications for our extended healthcare system.

COVID-zero has also become a political issue, and at one point many Chinese were hailed as demonstrating their country’s superiority over the United States, where more than a million people died from COVID.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has cited China’s approach as a “major strategic success” and evidence of the “great advantage” of China’s political system over Western liberal democracies.

But even as other countries open their doors, the humanitarian cost of China’s pandemic response is mounting.

Earlier this year in Shanghai, desperate residents complained that they couldn’t even get medicine or food during the city’s two-month lockdown. some died In a hospital due to lack of medical care as the city restricted movement. last week, Residents of western Xinjiang They said they were hungry after 40+ days of lockdown.

According to FreeWeibo, a website that tracks censored posts on popular social media platforms, three of the top 10 searches on Weibo were related to bus accidents.

Many people took note of the bus images shared by social media users. One photo shows the bus after it was recovered from the crash site. The roof was collapsed and partly missing. Another photo allegedly shows the driver wearing an all-white protective suit.

Users online questioned how drivers look right when they’re covering their faces and why they’re driving late at night. Comments remained that expressed dissatisfaction with the current approach to

“I hope this price of pain will push change sooner, but if possible, I don’t want to pay such a high price for such change,” said the most in an online report about the accident. comments with likes were stated. According to state broadcaster CCTV. “Please accept my sincere condolences.”

One bus passenger said her entire building was under central quarantine, according to a report by business news outlet Caixin. However, according to her friend who shared a text conversation with Caixin, not a single case of her was reported in her apartment.

Another popular comment quoted the saying, “These human lives are like straw.”

On Tuesday, Guizhou province reported 41 new COVID-19 cases across the province. The state has been on high alert in the past few weeks after discovering one case at the end of August. This means that people are not allowed to leave their homes.

___

Caroline Chen, AP News Assistant in Beijing, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/09/20/china-quarantine-bus-crash-prompts-outcry-over-zero-covid/ China quarantine bus crash prompts protest against ‘zero COVID’

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