China has reportedly set up brutal, eerie-looking “quarantine camps” as at least 20 million people are in restrictive lockdowns weeks ahead of the Winter Olympics.
Video posted to Twitter shows staff fully covered in white protective clothing standing near row upon row of small white cubicles lined up on the grounds of what appears to be a sports stadium.
Other footage claims to be from within one of the cell-like temporary buildings, with the occupant showing just a bare-framed bed and dirty-looking small bathroom.
Another clip going viral on Chinese social media shows staff — again fully decked out in protective clothing — going around leaving trays of food on shelves outside the prefab units.
One Twitter user claimed “millions” have been moved to the camps, mostly in Xi’an.
The major industrial city of 13 million has been completely locked down since before Christmas — even though 95 percent of its adults are fully vaccinated and it has reported just three COVID-related deaths throughout the pandemic, the New York Times noted.
As of Monday, Xi’an had reported no deaths in the latest wave of cases, with the last one in March 2020 — yet still more than 45,000 people have been moved to quarantine facilities, the paper said.
“There is nothing here, just basic necessities… Nobody has come to check up on us,” one person wrote on Weibo from inside one of the units according to the post seen by the BBC.
The poster claimed that “more than a thousand people” were forced into the camps in the middle of the night, including kids and pregnant women, the outlet said.
Another Twitter video claimed to show kids “locked alone without their parents” — with one child looking through bars on a window.
China has been known for its draconian “dynamic zero-case policy” that immediately shut down whole cities after even minor outbreaks ever since the coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019.
It has recently intensified such measures, both from a surge from Omicron cases as well as the pressure to ensure the nation is ready for Beijing to host the Winter Olympics starting Feb. 4.
Asian News International (ANI) reported “growing public frustration and anger” at officials “doggedly going after every virus case no matter the emotional or economic costs.”
The hashtag “hard to obtain food in Xi’an” is trending on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and those breaking the rules face “swift and sometimes bloody” consequences, the agency said.
Officials were forced to apologize after one man was shown being beaten by guards as he tried to get food.
A man suffering chest pains also died of a heart attack because hospital employees refused to admit him because he lived in a medium-risk district — and a bleeding pregnant woman lost her baby because medics refused to help her because her COVID test was not valid, the reports said.
China announced 166 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours before Wednesday — with just eight in Xi’an.
Still, the ruling party has defended its harsh measures, insisting they are the key reason for the nation largely avoiding the millions of infections seen elsewhere.
Vice Premier Sun Chunlan even called for measures to be stepped up across the country.
“It is necessary to do a good job in guaranteeing the living needs of the people in the closed and controlled communities, ensure the basic medical needs of the people during the epidemic period, and ensure that the people’s demands can be responded to and resolved in a timely manner,” Sun was quoted as saying.
With Post wires