Beijing is using phone data to round up more than 350,000 people for coronavirus testing as the country battles a second wave of coronavirus.
One western reporter revealed how he received a phone call ordering him to get tested after he attended the ‘sprawling’ Xinfadi wholesale market, where the new outbreak started.
A city official explained that 355,000 people had been identified for testing using ‘big data’.
It also emerged that at least 21million have had lockdown rules reimposed on them in China as part of fightback measures.
Checkpoints have been reimposed on all residential complexes in the city after its emergency response level was raised and residents are required to go through facial recognition cameras or show digital passes if they wish to enter or leave compounds.
Another 21 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, the National Health Commission said, taking the total number of new infections to 158. The figure was down from 31 on Wednesday.
The decline in new cases prompted one of the country’s leading epidemiologists to say at a briefing on Thursday that the city’s outbreak is ‘under control’. But crowds of people waiting to be tested have become a common sight in Beijing in recent days. Footage showed hordes of people packed into a corridor at a hospital in Shaanxi, west of Beijing, as they waited to be tested.
Writing for the Associated Press, Mark Schiefelbein told how he was tracked via his phone after he attended the Xinfadi market in Bejing.
He explained that he was called by an official who ‘informed me that I should shortly report to the gates of a nearby sports stadium to be bused to a coronavirus testing site.’
He added that he was told that ‘someone with my cellphone number had been in the vicinity of the market. I may have been tracked through my cellphone.’
‘A Beijing city official said Wednesday that 355,000 people have been identified for testing via big data, but he did not specify how,’ he wrote.
It comes as news also emerged that Beijing has imposed lockdown rules on its 21million residents, according to the Times.
Residents have been urged not to travel outside the capital after the outbreak spread to four other Chinese provinces.
Thousands of flights have also been cancelled at Beijing’s airports and the city’s emergency response level has been raised to its second highest.
China, (Daily Mail), 18 June 2020