Covid-19 in China: Isolation center staff protest their working conditions

In this photo released by Chinese news agency Xinhua, people with mild and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 are quarantined at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai, Friday, April 1, 2022. AP - Ding Ting

Text by: RFI Follow

2 mins

Faced with the Omicron wave, the authorities have implemented drastic measures to contain the epidemic, including the isolation of positive cases in huge collective quarantine centers, where some maintenance workers complain about their working conditions. .

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With our correspondent in Beijing,

Stéphane Lagarde

Brothers, the quarantine centers are exploiting the volunteers and some of them are protesting

,” can be heard on one of the many videos that have invaded the Douyin network, the equivalent of TikTok in China, in recent days.

Images which show in particular management staff in yellow vests calling out to employees: “

You have gathered to claim 500 yuan -70 euros- per day, it is impossible!

It's 300, or the door!

»

But leaving is impossible.

Faced with the explosion of cases of contamination, the authorities need more and more space.

After the exhibition centers 

and gymnasiums

, private residences

and even office towers are requisitioned to be transformed into gigantic collective dormitories for asymptomatic patients, the "Fāngcāng yīyuàn", literally temporary hospitals that can accommodate tens of thousands of patients. of Covid-19.

A Covid Cabin Hospital in Shanghai,


transformed from a business tower.

pic.twitter.com/nYpc7PD1iE

— Tong Bingxue 仝冰雪 (@tongbingxue) April 20, 2022

“We are trapped, they do not want to let us go 

In addition to the nursing staff who are taking part in the fight against the epidemic, maintenance workers and security staff are being recruited, including outside Shanghai.

They are the ones we see protesting on these videos that are sometimes difficult to locate.

Volunteers who say that their contract is not respected and issue wage demands in the face of the risk of contamination.

Meals in the quarantine center are charged 30 yuan (nearly 4.5 euros) complain in particular those concerned.

All the people you see gathered here want to leave, 

explains a woman in a white protective suit and blue mask; 

We were initially told that we had to clean the surroundings of the quarantine center, but now they ask us to work inside 12 hours a day.

We called the police and the "12345" number intended to solve problems between citizens.

We are trapped, they do not want to let us go 

, ”we hear in these videos.

And being potentially in contact with positive cases, these agents recruited by private subcontractors cannot return home.

Anger that adds to the general discontent.

Faced with criticism of this confinement which has lasted since the beginning of the month in Shanghai,

the town hall has slightly relaxed the restrictions

.

Since Wednesday, nearly half of the city's 25 million inhabitants have been able to leave their apartments, but remain close to their homes in streets with closed shops.

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  • China

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