Chinese city offers cash for clues as Covid outbreak declared a ‘people’s war’

Authorities announced the 100,000 yuan ($15,640) rewards for residents in Heihe, saying illegal hunting or crossing the border should be reported

Residents of a Chinese city bordering Russia have been offered major cash rewards for tips on the continuing Delta outbreak, with local officials declaring a “people’s war” on the virus.

Authorities announced the 100,000 yuan ($15,640) rewards for residents in Heihe, in the north-eastern Heilongjiang Province, as its total tally of cases in this outbreak reached 240.

“It is hoped that the general public could actively cooperate with the tracing of the virus and provide clues to the probe,” the declaration said.

According to state media, officials have urged people in the border city to immediately report any instances of illegal hunting, animal smuggling, or people crossing the border to fish. It also warned of severe penalties for people who intentionally conceal relevant information.

China’s health commission reported another 62 locally transmitted symptomatic cases on Monday, and 43 on Tuesday, adding to the more than 940 cases recorded in at least 20 provinces nationally since October, in the country’s worst outbreak since Wuhan in early 2020.

The government is committed to a Covid Zero strategy, and is deploying an escalating array of measures in its attempts to eliminate the virus from the community again.

Henan province authorities have said they will “catch and kill” the virus within a week, with provincial party secretary Lou Yangsheng vowing to expand lockdowns and contact tracing as necessary.

Authorities in Chengdu have expanded tracing measures and orders, reportedly identifying some people if their mobile phones transmitted through the same cell tower in a 14 day period.

The measure, dubbed “spacial-temporal overlap”, classifies someone as a close contact if the phone signal was within 800 square metres of a case for more than 10 minutes, or if both parties spent at least 30 hours in the identified area over the two week period.

The method saw authorities order about 82,000 people who had visited a massive shopping complex to get tested and then self-isolate. Video footage purported to show some people climbing over fences to escape the mandatory testing requirement.

Earlier this month authorities locked down Shanghai Disneyland and tested all guests inside after a previous visitor was diagnosed with the illness.

With the outbreak continuing, health officials have called for an acceleration of booster shots and vaccinations to children.

Wang Qinghua, chief immunologist of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it was previously thought children were largely unaffected by Covid-19, but the situation had changed as the virus mutated.

“We have seen increased infections in children, with the rates of severe illness and mortality surpassing influenza in some countries … and the hospitalisation rate for children is now more than 10 times higher than earlier this year,” he said, according to state media.

According to the Global Times, health authorities have set a target of vaccinating all eligible children aged 3 to 11 before the end of the year. More than 3.5m doses have been delivered to the age group so far, according to government data. Vaccinations are voluntary in China.

• This article was amended on 9 November 2021 to correct the spelling of Heihe in the text and subheading.


Helen Davidson in Taipei and agencies

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Chinese city of 1.2 million people locked down after three Covid cases emerge
Public transport halted and cars banned in Yuzhou as China pursues zero-Covid strategy ahead of Winter Olympics

Helen Davidson and agencies

04, Jan, 2022 @8:20 AM

Article image
Covid-19 outbreak in Xinjiang spreads to second Chinese city
Twenty-two new cases reported day after ‘wartime’ measures introduced in Urumqi

Helen Davidson and agencies

20, Jul, 2020 @7:32 AM

Article image
Beijing coronavirus outbreak: city raises emergency level and grounds hundreds of flights
All movement in and out will be strictly controlled as dozens more test positive in new flare-up

Lily Kuo in Beijing

17, Jun, 2020 @2:53 PM

Article image
China locks down part of Guangzhou amid outbreak of Indian Covid variant
Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, and authorities ordered residents of some streets in the Liwan neighbourhood of Guangzhou city to isolate

Helen Davidson in Taipei

01, Jun, 2021 @5:45 AM

Article image
Birth of a pandemic: inside the first weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan
Interviews with patients, medical workers and residents reveal delays with far-reaching consequences for the city, the world and China’s leadership

Lily Kuo in Wuhan

10, Apr, 2020 @10:22 AM

Article image
Beijing reopens mass isolation centre in fight against Covid
Chinese capital ramps up efforts to control Omicron outbreak and avoid lockdowns

Helen Davidson in Taipei and agencies

04, May, 2022 @5:35 AM

Article image
China approves Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for general use
Rollout to begin ‘soon’ but about a million have already received injection under emergency approvals

Helen Davidson in Taipei

31, Dec, 2020 @3:52 AM

Article image
Xinjiang lockdown: Chinese censors drown out posts about food and medicine shortages
‘Internet commentary personnel’ told to deluge social media with thoughts on anything from cooking to their personal mood

Helen Davidson in Taipei

12, Sep, 2022 @4:55 AM

Article image
Wuhan: nearly 490,000 people could have had Covid, study finds
Official tests for antibody prevalence suggest an infection rate 10 times higher than official number

Helen Davidson in Taipei

30, Dec, 2020 @6:03 AM

Article image
Reports of teenager dying in Covid quarantine cause outcry in China
Video of girl struggling to breathe is circulating online, with claims family’s pleas for help were ignored

Helen Davidson in Taipei

19, Oct, 2022 @9:20 AM