Authorities in a Tibetan-populated county in Sichuan are offering rewards for information helping to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, whose death toll in mainland China has now topped 1,000, according to an official announcement.
The notice, released in recent days by authorities in Ngaba county’s Jang town and written in both Tibetan and Chinese, promises pay-offs to anyone reporting on people entering the area from places with high rates of infection.
Among these is Sichuan’s Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which saw its total number of confirmed infections climb to 27 on Tuesday with four new cases reported by state media in the prefecture’s Tawu (Daofu) county, already hard hit with a total of 22 cases of its own.
Also noted for concern are persons arriving from central China’s Hubei province, where the deadly virus began its spread, and local residents hosting and “concealing” outside visitors who have not reported themselves for medical checks.
Banquets, dinner parties, and gatherings for mahjong, chess, or other games are also prohibited, and any persons found organizing these events must also be reported, the notice says.
Supermarkets, hospitals, farmers markets, and gas stations are needed to meet “the daily needs of the masses,” though, and are exempted from the ban, the notice says, while warning against hoarding goods and “driving up prices” in the local markets.
Each case of verified reporting will be rewarded with a payment of 300 yuan (U.S. $43) which can be cashed in within 24 hours, according to the notice, which provides a call-in number and the name of a contact person named Palchen Kyab, an ethnic Tibetan.
“If multiple sources report the same information separately, the first person to report will be given the reward,” the notice says, adding that reporters’ identity will be kept in strict confidence, and that anyone filing a false report “to frame others” will be held legally responsible.
Calls by RFA on Tuesday to verify the number given on the notice went straight to voice mail.
Reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney.