The biggest blockade ever
When Wuhan locked down last year, Ms. Jiang Hong (75 years old) shared: “I see everything like 1960, when we lived in residential areas and were taken care of from everything, but there was not much. choice.”
But, she said, in 2020, officials used smartphones instead of loudspeakers to deliver messages. Moreover, people are no longer using vouchers like in the 60s to buy essentials.
Like many elderly people, Ms. Jiang had to learn how to use the social network WeChat to adjust to the new “collective life”. All the members of her quarantine group chat through WeChat. They receive government notices and also pay online through it. Such “sub-zones” help China create a system of residential area management and monitoring.
In January last year, Ms. Jiang’s residential area was blocked off, all residents could only enter and exit through a single gate, staffed around the clock. Every day, residents like Ms. Jiang have to report their body temperature to medical staff and provide information about their whereabouts.
The “subdivision” security guards will strictly monitor all residents and report any unusual signs. However, they are also the “supply” for the people, not to miss any order of necessities.
According to Ms. Jiang’s daughter, Dorothy Wang, at first, when the area was sealed off, everyone was quite chaotic, no one knew what to do because they were all retired people. However, the situation began to improve in mid-February, when the Wuhan government sent about 44,500 people to more than 7,000 residential areas across the city. They help 12,000 grassroots level personnel in disease control.
She shared: “Each family has a certain amount of time to go for a walk in the garden of the residential area. The management board and the residential committee are monitoring it to ensure that only one family is allowed at a time. go out.”
Jennifer Pan, an assistant professor of communications at Stanford University, said the management team has an important role in helping the city control the disease. However, according to Pan, personnel in some places are still not efficient, so the level of efficiency is not equal across sub-districts.
At that time, some epidemiologists around the world questioned the effectiveness of large-scale blockade, but so far it is considered a good measure applied to control the disease. . As Covid-19 has spread globally, many other countries have followed suit.
The real effectiveness of the health monitoring system
To control the movement of 11 million people in Wuhan at that time, the Chinese government implemented a medical tracking code system. Every night, residents will receive a QR code on their mobile phone, called a “health tracking code”. Users upload personal information to a messaging app of WeChat or Alipay to verify identity, along with body temperature, Covid symptoms if any, and recent travel history.
The system then assesses whether they have been in close contact with an infected person. If the user receives a green code, then they are safe and allowed to travel and work. A yellow code means the user has been exposed to F0 and is at risk of infection. However, the orange code means that the user must be quarantined at home for 7 days and the red code is for 14 days.
In addition, the “code scanning” system is linked to temperature measurement points in public places. If the body temperature is abnormally high, the blue code may be changed to yellow. With this code, users will be restricted from going out and waiting for medical staff to come and handle it.
Jeremy Wallace, an associate professor of government at Cornell University, said: “China’s surveillance system plays an important role in crisis response. They have collected huge troves of data during the crisis. . They can monitor through temperature checks and whether people are complying with social distancing policies.”
Experts say that strict measures like in Wuhan play an important role in preventing the epidemic, but are difficult to apply in some other places, such as the US. In the US, the government has to rely on residential areas, schools, churches and non-profit organizations to mobilize more personnel to fight the epidemic.
A metro station worker in Hangzhou checks people’s health codes
Although the measure of tracking citizens’ travel schedules has received a lot of criticism from the West, these steps have still proven effective in fighting the pandemic.
When the pandemic was almost completely under control, China’s health code tracking system was still in place in many places. In some places, people are still required to provide a green code to use the subway, buy train tickets or travel by taxi.
Scientists from the University of Oxford say that China’s health monitoring system has been very effective in preventing the epidemic in a sustainable way. In addition, the system could “replace manual tracking with instant signals transmitted to and from a central server”, allowing authorities to quickly and accurately determine who will be people at risk.