The quarantine camp itself is located on the outskirts of Shijiazhuang, the capital of the Hebei province which surrounds the country’s capital of Beijing. China for the most part has been successful in containing the spread of the virus, and has even been able to return to some sense of normalcy within the past few months. However, a sudden rise in cases that appeared before the Lunar New Year had officials worried for the future of the pandemic.
The Lunar New Year in China is the country’s most important festival that occurs every year. During it, hundreds of millions of individuals from all over the world typically travel to China to visit their family and celebrate. The country went on strict lockdown following the week-long festivities.
Officials in Shijiazhuang, where the outbreak is centered, have begun mass testing citizens and enforcing strict lockdowns as they’ve done in the past to contain the spread. Entire villages were forced to move to centralized quarantine facilities as an extreme attempt to curb the spread of the virus.
The new quarantine camps are meant to house close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients. Authorities will locate these individuals through contact tracing and then inform them that they have been in close contact with someone infected and need to quarantine at the camp to ensure that they aren’t spreading the virus any further.
Originally the camps were only meant to house 3,000 people but has since been expanded to a capacity of 4,160 to deal with any new cases that appear. Authorities began initial construction on January 13th and the first section of the camp is now available for use.
Each room in the camp measures around 194 square feet and comes with an en suite bathroom, shower, desk, chair, bed, WiFi, and television set as well. The quarantine camps actually initially appeared as an idea in the beginning of the pandemic as a means of easing the pressure on hospitals who were becoming overwhelmed with patients.
China was able to set up temporary hospital’s that could house 1,000 individuals, which is what gave officials the confidence to set up this quarantine camp in a timely manner. The opening of the camp couldn’t have come at a better time for China either, as the nation reported 103 new cases and 58 asymptomatic infections across four different provinces.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 88,557, while the official death toll is 4,635, according to health officials. All 11 million residents of Shijiazhuang are now barred from leaving the city in accordance with the lockdown procedures the government is enforcing. More than 20,000 citizens have since been relocated to other quarantine sites as well as a preventive measure.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.