Local Chinese Officials Apologize for Entering Homes in Search of Covid Cases

Local officials in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou issued a rare apology after community workers stormed dozens of homes in search of people who tested positive for the coronavirus. and others believed to have close ties, prompting fierce criticism on social media.

The city’s Liwan District Government said in a statement that workers chose locks to enter 84 apartments in an apartment complex. They searched for residents they believed were hiding to avoid being sent to isolation centers. Following China’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid, all positive cases and close contacts must be sent to centralized quarantine facilities for a number of days.

Photos on social media showed a broken lock on the front door of the apartment, and authorities said the lock was later replaced. It added that the neighborhood chief apologized to residents and promised unspecified compensation.

The government also said the incident was “deeply saddened” and that it was investigating the incident and would punish anyone found responsible.

Guangzhou has reported fewer than 10 cases of local transmission in the past week. On Wednesday, China reported 906 new cases of local transmission, mainly in the northwestern province of Gansu and the southern region of Guangxi.

The pandemic has allowed the Communist Party expand its reach into the lives of Chinese citizens, tracking and restricting their movements and detaining them at their homes and businesses. There will be opponents said the health codes on their phones had been changed to prevent them from moving freely, and in many cities across China, people’s doors were closed to prevent them from leaving while the doors were locked.

In some cases, officials have limited the measures in the face of public outcry. In Shanghai, residents complained after the medical staff beat to death a corgi that they thought they might have been infected with Covid, and community workers admitted that the killing was outrageous.

Anger over the Guangzhou incident continued to simmer on Chinese social media following the apology. Some criticize what they call an abuse of power. Some Weibo users said that abuse related to Covid containment has become common since Covid first appeared in the country.

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