Chinese authorities in Xinjiang have warned those flouting quarantine laws with as many as three weeks of detention amid the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in the region, according to media reports.
According to Radio Free Asia, authorities on Friday announced that they had documented 410 new asymptomatic COVID-19 infections in Xinjiang, bringing the total to 1,727, as the region continues to grapple with a new outbreak that has led to strict lockdowns.
Quoting an official in Qorghas county, Radio Fres Asia reported that authorities have been conducting street patrols to ensure that nobody is leaving their homes during an ongoing lockdown in the area and informing residents that they would be detained for up to three weeks if they do.
"We are informing the residents that those who violate the system, that is, those who go out on the streets, will be punished and sent to 15-20 days of 're-education,'" said the official, as pe the media outlet.
Another official of the village Women's Committee said that "medicine is being distributed to residents" by authorities, although she was unsure of what type.
"They are cream in color and are said to prevent disease," she said.
Earlier this week, Chinese state media reported that authorities ordered residents to quarantine in several cities.
The new COVID-19 outbreak in Southwest China's Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region raises grave concern across the region amid the lack of medical personnel and nucleic acid testing sample collectors, as well as a shortage of oxygen for treating severe cases due to its high altitude.
"Now the hospital doesn't have enough manpower to deal with the sudden COVID-19 flare-up, even if we dispatched all its medical workers, including the administrative staff against the epidemic," a staffer from a functional department of the Xigaze Tibetan Hospital told the Global Times on Tuesday.
A doctor from the Lhasa People's Hospital said, "The treatment of mild cases is not a big problem for Xizang, as makeshift hospitals are arranged to take care of them, but the treatment of severe cases would be a challenge due to the lack of oxygen in the high-altitude location and limited medical equipment."
Xizang (Tibet) Autonomous Region, home to about 800,000 people reported 27 cases on Tuesday, Global Times reported.
Earlier, it reported 22 cases since last Sunday out of which 18 cases were found in Lhasa and four cases were found earlier in Ngari Prefecture's Burang county, marking the end of the region's 920-day record of no cases. The majority of those cases showed no symptoms.The Chinese authorities have temporarily closed the World heritage sites Potala Palace and Norbulingka, as well as Tibet Museum in Lhasa to visitors on Tuesday with an undetermined reopening date amid the new surge in COVID-19 cases.
Lhasa announced plans to implement "static management" in medium- and high-risk areas, and cross-city travellers in low-risk areas will be required to present a 48-hour negative nucleic acid testing result, Global Times reported. (ANI)