BEIJING (AP) – A city in northern China is offering a 500 yuan ($ 77) reward for anyone who reports a recent corona virus test.
The offer comes as millions of people are being tested in the city and its surrounding province of Hebei as part of efforts to contain China’s worst COVID-19 eruption.
Providing money or other rewards for information about political or social dissidents has a long history in China, but the epidemic is taking a new face in practice. Those who do not comply will be subjected to testing and two weeks of isolation at their own expense.
China has largely restrained local exchanges, using locks of entire cities and restrictions on access to certain parts of the country, including measures that some consider serious and highly intrusive, including close electronic surveillance.
In the run-up to next month’s Lunar New Year, the government says people should stay as long as possible and not travel to the capital, Beijing, which is disrupting the country’s most important time for family gatherings. Schools are also dropping out a week ago, although many, including Hebei, have already returned to online learning.
China on Friday reported 53 new cases, including 33 in Hebei. 31 of them were in the provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, to host some events for next year’s Winter Olympics.
Other developments in the Asia-Pacific region include:
– 205 new virus cases have been reported in Thailand, which has slightly eased restrictions on domestic travel from previous days. A spokesman for the COVID-19 Coordination Center, Thavisilp Visanuyot, said on Friday that 131 local exchanges, 58 migrant workers and 16 international visits were involved in the new cases. This brings the total number of deaths in the country to 9,841, including 67 deaths. In all, 5,367 cases have been identified since the new uprising began on December 15. Infections have increased over the next few months, with only a few cases being reported. Most of the new cases are migrant workers from neighboring Myanmar, working in seafood markets and factories in a province next to Bangkok. Most were isolated in their shelters and quickly established field hospitals. The remaining several cases have been blamed on travel gamblers, most of whom came from a hotspot outside Bangkok last month.
– Australia has halved the number of passengers allowed on board flights in a bid to stem the spread of the highly contagious variant of the corona virus, first identified in the UK. The first person affected by the diversity found in the Australian community was a cleaner at an isolated hotel in Brisbane who was diagnosed on Wednesday as COVID-19. Other cases have been found among travelers when the hotel is in isolation, where the risk of spreading to the community is not high. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that state leaders have agreed to suspend international flights to New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia state airports until February 15. Attendance at Victoria was already relatively low and will remain unchanged. Isolated workers will be tested for the virus daily. Authorities in Brisbane have locked Australia’s third-most populous city for three days, starting Friday evening. Paul Kelly, Australia’s chief health officer, said anyone in Brisbane from January 2 should be isolated.
– Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong received a vaccine against the corona virus on Friday. It released the first vaccine produced by Pfizer-Bioendech on December 23rd, and hopes to have a total population of about 4.5 million and its foreigners. The vaccine will be free. It did not say how many were purchased, but hopes to vaccinate everyone in the third quarter of 2021. The first people to be vaccinated will be health workers and the elderly.