Twenty-seven people died Sunday in southwestern China in the accident of the bus taking them to an anti-Covid quarantine site, local authorities announced.
The vehicle, which was carrying a total of 47 people, “tipped over on its side”, local police said, and the accident also injured around 20 people. The accident, the deadliest in China since the beginning of the year, occurred in Qiannan prefecture, a poor, isolated and mountainous region of Guizhou province, where several ethnic minorities live.
Nearly 900 new cases of Covid
The provincial government confirmed, a few hours after the announcement of the accident, that the bus was transporting people “to the place where they were going to be placed in quarantine, in connection with the epidemic” of Covid. It was not specified whether these people were sick, contact cases or simply residents of a building having experienced a case of Covid, under the very strict “zero Covid” policy led by China.
The province of Guizhou has recorded more than 900 new cases in the past two days, and in early September its capital, Guiyang, had been placed in confinement. Photos posted on social media showed the bus, with its roof completely down, being towed away by a tow truck. Another photo that quickly went viral appears to show the bus moving through the night, the driver and passengers all dressed in protective suits. AFP could not verify the authenticity of the photos.
Growls against the “zero Covid”
On social networks, we mourned the dead but this was accompanied by discontent against the “zero Covid” policy, which often sees the inhabitants of entire groups of buildings transported, often at night, to quarantine places sometimes several miles away. hundreds of kilometers. “How we feel about this cannot simply be expressed by lighting a candle and saying + rest in peace +”, commented on Weibo a user whose remark received 15,000 “likes” in a short time.
“What proof do you have that you won’t be the one on that bus one night?” “Launched another Internet user, also widely approved. With the most popular answer: “Who says we’re not there?” It is clear that we are all there. We are all in this dark and terrifying bus”.
While expressing its deep condolences, the government also underlined in a press release that it was necessary to “learn the lessons of this accident, examine the conditions of quarantine and transport of those affected by the epidemic, as well as the problems of road safety “. During the confinement of the megalopolis of Shanghai for two months in the spring, many inhabitants of cities affected by Covid cases had been forcibly transported, in buses in the middle of the night, to summary facilities located in other provinces for be quarantined there – despite having tested negative for the virus.