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Residents' unlocked doors lead to probe

By QIU QUANLIN in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-19 09:27

Authorities in Liwan district of Guangzhou, Guangdong province, have launched a comprehensive investigation into a case of residents' homes being unlawfully unlocked while they had to quarantine in hotels, according to a government briefing on Monday.

The case was exposed online, triggering public anger, after residents from dozens of households in an apartment block had discovered their homes had been unlocked when they returned to them after being quarantined elsewhere.

The health authority in Liwan had classified two apartment buildings in its Hailong subdistrict as high risk on July 8, after COVID-19 cases had been found among residents in the Banghua Star apartment.

After repeated screening a day later, it was found that there were still some people identified as close contacts to the positive cases possibly remaining at home, some of whom tested positive for the novel coronavirus later that night.

To prevent the emergence of new cases as soon as possible, staff conducted searches for close contacts by unlocking a total of 84 households on the key floors of the buildings in the early hours of July 10.

The households' doors were later sealed immediately by a joint workforce from the subdistrict office, the local community neighborhood committee and the property management operator, with the whole process recorded on video, according to the briefing.

The two buildings were later fully enclosed and new door locks were installed for the households in succession, the authority said.

Citing the workers' practice as being "simple and crude", the briefing said it had ignored and greatly hurt the feelings of local residents. Workers in charge of the Hailong subdistrict have apologized to the residents by admitting mistakes and promising compensation.

The Liwan district government also apologized, saying relevant personnel would be seriously dealt with in accordance with the law and disciplined after a comprehensive and in-depth investigation.

Meanwhile, the Guangzhou city government has vowed to make more efforts to prevent, detect and deal with COVID-19 more efficiently, implementing effective measures to ensure that there would be no large-scale rebound of the epidemic across the city.

During a work meeting on Friday, the city government said key places and persons related to the resurgence of COVID-19 will still be prioritized during the investigation to ensure all associated people at risk are checked and managed in place.

Guangdong reported seven new locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases-one in Guangzhou, four in Zhuhai, one in Shenzhen and one in Foshan-and 10 local asymptomatic carriers on Sunday, according to the provincial health commission.

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