Coronavirus: China builds quarantine camp for more than 4,000 people

Jane Dalton
·2 min read
Scores of prefabricated units have been put up in just a week (VCG via Getty Images)
Scores of prefabricated units have been put up in just a week (VCG via Getty Images)

China is racing to build a huge camp to keep thousands of people in quarantine, as authorities struggle to control more clusters of coronavirus.

More than 20,000 citizens from 12 villages around Shijiazhuang have already been moved to other quarantine sites as a preventative measure, Chinese state media outlet CGTN reported last week.

The new site, in the same city, will be big enough to take the residents of one or more entire villages to try to curb the spread of the virus, but initially it will house the close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 patients.

The camp was planned to accommodate 3,000 people, but has since been expanded to a capacity of 4,160, according to CNN.

More than 4,000 construction workers worked for six days and nights to complete the first phase, officials were reported as saying.

The first section of the complex is ready for use just a week after the workers started putting up the prefabricated housing units.

China’s official death toll is relatively low, at 4,801, according to Johns Hopkins University, because strict measures have largely kept the virus under control. Much of the country has even returned to life as before.

But a sudden rise in cases in Shijiazhuang this month has raised concerns over the lunar new year, when hundreds of millions of people usually travel to visit family members.

Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of Hebei province, which surrounds the country's capital, Beijing, was put into lockdown nearly two weeks ago, with all 11 million residents barred from leaving. And mass testing has begun.

On Tuesday, China’s National Health Commission reported 103 new cases and 58 asymptomatic infections, which are counted separately. A day earlier, 118 new cases were recorded – the biggest daily jump in new cases in more than three weeks.

Last Wednesday, a patient died in Hebei, which was the country's first Covid-related death in nearly eight months.

Beijing officials said they would investigate everyone who had entered the capital from abroad since 10 December and shut down an underground station as cases grew.

The authorities fear that China’s dense urban populations and highly developed transport network may help the virus to spread.

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