Six Beijing residents are under criminal investigation for alleged violation of pandemic prevention and control measures, the local police announced at a news conference on Sunday.
The authorities have charged them with committing three kinds of violations. Two of them returned from high- and middle-risk regions but did not declare their health condition to the medical authorities despite running a fever. They even invited their friends over to play mahjong, and went out to dine. Two others crossed over the fence of their residential community despite a preventive lockdown there. The other two run a pharmacy and sold medicines for fever without registering the details of the patients, who later tested positive for COVID-19.
The action of the two running the pharmacy is the most serious violation of the rules. As fever is a typical symptom of COVID-19, those selling medicines have to register the details of patients buying medicines for fever. By not doing so, the two exposed a dozen, or maybe hundreds, of others to infection.
Even ordinary people cannot shirk their responsibilities. To play mahjong with friends and go out and dine despite running a fever is a clear violation of the anti-pandemic measures. And by launching a criminal investigation against them, the authorities have showed they have “zero-tolerance” for those violating anti-pandemic measures.
But apart from penalizing the rule breakers, the authorities need to do more to ensure everyone follows pandemic-appropriate behavior. They could monitor how pharmacies are handling patients looking for acetaminophen and other medicines to reduce fever. Even restaurants need to more strictly check the health codes of diners.
About two years after the outbreak of the pandemic, many people in China have lowered their guard against COVID-19 as the country has largely contained the spread of the novel coronavirus. But since strict measures helped China to do that, we have to follow the anti-pandemic measures to ensure the virus doesn”t spread across the country again.
The many different trade and aid policies being pursued by China globally have been heavily criticised but can developing countries become more independent or will China’s policy reform?