Wuhan Locks Down Residential Compounds Amid Citywide Test Rollout

wuhan-virus.jpg Doctors treat a patient infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus at a hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province, Feb. 24, 2020.

Authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan are restricting movements in and out of its residential communities, as fears grow of a resurgence in coronavirus cases following the lifting of the lockdown, RFA has learned.

Wuhan, where the virus that causes COVID-19 first emerged, is also in the process of implementing a city-wide order to carry out free nucleic acid tests on the entire eleven million population.

Wuhan-based citizen journalist Zhang Zhan said six new cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in the city's Sanmin residential compound, home to some 5,000 people.

"I went there to find out more about the situation, but it has been placed under quarantine," Zhang told RFA on Thursday, adding that local news reports said six new cases had been confirmed, with 180 contacts now in isolation.

"There are police outside on the street now guarding the place, and no vehicles are being allowed through," Zhang said. "I asked a nearby resident how many people were taken away in ambulances, and he told me that 180 people were taken away for isolation."

Sanmin residents stranded outside the compound when lockdown was imposed are not being allowed to return.

A similar lockdown was being imposed at the Sanyanqiao residential compound, also in Wuhan, Zhang said.

"The barriers have been put back and the place is under lockdown," Zhang said. "There is also an online announcement saying that delivery drivers aren't being allowed to enter certain compounds."

"There are signs of a resurgence of the epidemic in Wuhan."

Courier service suspended

A notice from a Wuhan-based logistics company seen by RFA warned customers that its courier service will be suspended from May 12 in eight districts of the city, including Dongxihu; Wuchang; Jiangxia; Jiang'an, and Hongshan.

Meanwhile, a video clip circulating on social media showed a middle-aged man in a yellow T-shirt being attended by paramedics after he "just suddenly fell to the ground," according to a bystander on the footage, who said he had called an ambulance.

A Wuhan resident surnamed Wang said the video dates back to an incident on May 10.

"This was on May 10 ... just past 8.00 a.m. on the 10th," she said. "I don't know why this happened, what illness caused him to suddenly fall down like that."

"He collapsed suddenly and was taken to Xiehui Hospital," Wang said.

She said many in Wuhan were puzzled at the sudden city-wide testing order, but suspected the test drive was a way to win back public approval and use up test kits returned by Italy.

District-by-district testing

A resident surnamed Sun said everyone has been told they will be tested district by district.

"The city government is implementing the testing order from the epidemic prevention center, and each administrative region will notify the neighborhood committees in the residential compounds when they need to organize nucleic acid testing," Sun told RFA.

"It is being carried out as a top priority political task," he said.

A resident of Wuhan's Qiaokou district surnamed Ma confirmed the rollout of tests at neighborhood level.

"Every district and neighborhood committee has to register [residents'] IDs for blanket nucleid acid testing," Ma said. "The tests are free of charge."

"This is just to show the international community that China really has got the epidemic under control, like it said it had," he said.

Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


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