Saturday, 1 February 2020


Credit...Kevin Frayer/Getty Images
“Are you and your family doing well? We’ve been worrying about you all this time!” read a text message sent on Saturday to Wuhan’s visitors from Beijing.
But they were more than just innocent greetings. Beijing’s Center for Disease Prevention and Control appeared to have tracked the city’s residents who were on trips to Hubei Province and asked them not to return. Wuhan, the heart of the outbreak, is the provincial capital of Hubei.
“You and your family must protect yourselves and manage your health well, and strictly abide by the epidemic prevention and control measures by the local governments in Hubei and not return to Beijing for the time being,” the message continued.
“With our joint efforts, we can definitely eliminate the epidemic and win this epidemic prevention battle!” it added, signing off as Beijing’s C.D.C. “Be healthy and safe!”
China’s cellular service providers can use their networks to track and locate phone users.
Beijing, China’s capital, has also taken extra steps to keep people off the streets and public places. Companies in Beijing, except for utilities and pharmaceutical or medical equipment firms as well as supermarkets, would postpone reopening until Feb. 10, a week after an extended Lunar New Year was to end, the official Beijing Daily reported.
But a city official in Beijing said on Saturday that property managers, villages and neighborhoods had no authority to bar the entry of people returning to the city without their showing symptoms of the virus.
Chen Bei, the official, said some returning Beijing residents were said to be obstructed when trying to get back into their neighborhoods and homes.

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