‘Zero Covid’ consequence: 27 dead, 20 injured as bus ferrying people to quarantine crashes in China
The stringent measures China has been taking under its zero-COVID policy in the Guizhou province which has recorded two COVID-related deaths came under a sharp attack by people online after the incident
New Delhi: 27 people died, and 20 others were left injured when a bus taking people to the COVID-19 quarantine centre met an accident in southern China on Sunday morning, leading to a strong online public reaction on the country’s stringent zero-COVID policy.
The bus with 47 people, 27 of whom have so far died, on board was going from Guiyang, Guizhou province to Libo on the Sanli highway, the police said offering no explanation for the crash.
Although the authorities were quick to censor, local social media had people claiming that the bus was transporting COVID patients from Guiyang. Photos floating online showed everyone on the bus wearing white hazmat suits and goggles, including the driver, they haven’t been verified.
Guizhou Daily reported late Sunday that the bus was transporting people “affected by Covid-19 outbreak controls”.
The local authorities have ordered an investigation and severe punishment for those responsible,
“We should learn from the lessons of the accident, review the isolation and transfer of people involved in the epidemic and the potential dangers for traffic safety, and carry out rectification,” the officials were quoted as saying.
The stringent measures China has been taking under its zero-COVID policy in the Guizhou province which has recorded two COVID-related deaths came under a sharp attack by people online after the incident. A Weibo, a Chinese social media website, user wrote, “What will the government say to people? Covid didn’t kill people, instead, they were killed on the way to be quarantined. That is really ridiculous.”
“This is the biggest tragedy resulting from unscientific Covid control measures,” another Weibo user wrote.
Many residents are reportedly suffering to secure enough food in Guiyang, a city of six million, after it went into lockdown at the beginning of this month.
Thousands of people “believed” to have been exposed to the virus have been sent to quarantine centres making it hard to accommodate more because of which many have to be moved to centres outside the city, Guiyang official Wang Jie told the media.
“As of Saturday, 7,396 people had been transferred out of town, with another 2,900 people on their way”, Wang added.
Guiyang deputy secretary general He Chengjiang pledged all-out efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Guiyang will … concentrate superior military forces, speed up the identification of the source of infection, and quickly surround, mobilise, and extinguish the outbreak so that society will be cleared for a decisive victory,” He said.
Before Hong Kong took on South Korea in the final of the Asia Rugby Sevens Series in Incheon on Sunday, "Glory to Hong Kong" was played instead of the Chinese anthem.
In an address at a think-tank, Gen Pande also said the focus of the next round of military talks between India and China would be to resolve issues at the two remaining friction points, seen as a reference to Demchok and Depsang in that region