Some places have come under criticism for their long quarantines, but few can compare to the northern Chinese city of Shenyang.
Travelers arriving there from overseas must spend 28 days in hotel quarantine, and during the hotel stay they are not allowed to open the door except to take in food deliveries. They are tested seven times for the coronavirus over that period. And once that hotel quarantine is over, they are expected to avoid going outside their home for another 28 days.
The latest restrictions, which have been in place for nearly a month, are a stark example of how seriously Chinese officials are taking the country’s “zero Covid” approach to the pandemic, nearly two years after the virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The restrictions come after China began locking down cities in mid-October to try to contain a fresh outbreak following a flurry of domestic travel during a nationwide holiday.
China on Wednesday reported 39 symptomatic Covid-19 cases and 25 asymptomatic ones. But Shenyang has not reported any Covid-19 cases since July 30. Dalian, another city in the same province, Liaoning, reported 32 cases on Wednesday.
While travelers from overseas face a four-week quarantine, those entering Shenyang from other parts of the country considered high risk are required to do 14 days in hotel quarantine and another 14 days of self-monitoring.
In Beijing, where a small outbreak in late October led the capital to lock down certain neighborhoods, the authorities shut down dozens of pharmacies that were caught selling cough medicine without requiring customers to register their identification. The authorities started requiring pharmacies to ask customers for their name, ID and contact information when buying cough medicine early in the pandemic.
China’s lockdowns and zero-Covid strategy appear to enjoy widespread support among the public as caseloads remain low, but there is occasional griping on social media.
A recent article about Shenyang’s restrictions had just one negative comment. One user, under the name JonasLambily, wrote, “A model of lazy governance.”