China offers a big reward to its inhabitants for informing on people with coronavirus

China today announced the detection of 54 new coronavirus positives, as well as 103 asymptomatic cases. The data join the 225,172 people in the country, according to Chinese authorities, since the beginning of the pandemic, although the total number of infected excludes asymptomatic people.

China, which applies a severe “zero tolerance” policy towards the new coronavirus, has suffered in the last three months a wave of outbreaks attributed to the omicron variant that has led to record numbers of infections not seen since the first half of 2020, when the pandemic began.

The country’s health authorities have been boasting for months about their policy to prevent contagion, but now, after the new wave, it seems that it is no longer working, which has forced the creation of a new “system of punishments and rewards” to cut the chain of transmission and reduce contagions. Among them, whistleblowing.

The denunciations – at their peak during the years of excesses of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) – mainly reach areas of rural China such as Jingxiu County, in the northern province of Hebei, neighboring Beijing.

“Whoever gives clues to the government about suspected contagions and they are finally confirmed as positive cases, will receive a reward of 10,000 yuan,” reads one of the circulars issued by the local authorities. According to the text, “all close contacts, sub-contacts, anyone who should be in isolation but is not, or anyone who has entered the county without reporting or without a valid health QR code” should be sought.

In this way, the letter stresses the need to “keep an eye” on security personnel, doormen, doctors, pharmacists or civil servants, as well as to be alert in case weddings and funerals are held without warning.

Informing on a neighbor suspected of having contracted covid-19 carries a reward of 10,000 yuan (just over 1,400 euros). On the other hand, those who “maliciously” report others will be investigated and punished.

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