Many residents are isolated only because they are in the same Wechat group with an infected case. People turn to the Internet to complain and say, Has the virus evolved and now it can spread through the Internet?

​​A few days ago, a man from Qingpu District in Shanghai was called by the local Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to inform him he should be in isolation. 

It turned out that the reason was he shared a karaoke group on WeChat with a positive Covid case, so he was labeled as indirect contact. It seems most of the members of that group were isolated for 7 days, even though they never attended any location together. 

A full recording of the phone conversation started circulating on the Internet. Here is a summary of some main points of the recording:

Epidemic prevention staff: “I called from Qingpu Center for Disease Control and Prevention. After verifying, I want to confirm that you didn’t go to any Karaoke bar, right?”

Man: “No, I did not.”

Epidemic prevention staff: “We have verified that you did not go to that Karaoke bar. If yes, we will follow the regulation of direct contact with a positive person; if not, we will rely on the regulation of indirect contact.”

Man: “But if I did not go, why would I be in indirect contact?”

Epidemic prevention staff: “Because you are also in that WeChat group.”

According to CDC staff in the conversation, more than 300 people in this WeChat group went to the Karaoke bar.

The official Weibo account of “China News Weekly” reported that some residents had been considered indirect contacts by the Shanghai Qingpu District CDC because they are in the same WeChat group as people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Liu Ye (pen-name), a resident of Qingpu District, Shanghai, told The Epoch Times that most of the people in the Wechat karaoke group had been in quarantine, and she was also quarantined for a week. 

Liu Ye said, “After the epidemic broke out at 148 Lanxi Street, Shanghai, there was a group on Wechat which invited each other to sing karaoke and was reported. I was also in that group. The group has been active for seven or eight years. It’s an old group. A friend pulled me into this group long ago.”

Liu Ye added: “But the Karaoke venue is in Putuo district and I live in Qingpu district, which is too far. I haven’t been there for a few years. Furthermore, in the first half of this year, I have not passed through Putuo.”

Liu Ye recounted: “However, early in the morning of July 5, around six o’clock, when I was sleeping in the house, the village committee where I live came to install the sensor door and seal my house. Only then did I know that I was an indirect contact with a person infected with COVID-19. According to the regulation, I must be isolated at home for seven days.”

She said: “This is really outrageous, and it’s not just me, most of the people in this group are quarantined. When the village committee came to seal my house, I told him, “I did not go anywhere, why do you isolate me?”. He said this decision was made by Shanghai Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and they were just doing their job.”

The news sparked heated comments online. Some netizens scoffed: “Too absurd! Qingpu, Shanghai, just because you are in the same WeChat group, they immediately identify you as indirect contacts”. Another netizen said sarcastically: “Because the virus has evolved, Can it spread through the Internet? Another netizen lamented: “This society has too many despicable, ridiculous, and infuriating things.”

Some netizens said, “If I hadn’t heard the recordings, I wouldn’t have imagined the virus would spread this way.” “How can their minds come up with such a ridiculous thing?.” “They are constantly renewing their awareness about the virus.” “When leaders make decisions, they are in a hurry and work haphazardly, without considering social influence.”

Regarding this situation, Tang Jingyuan, a senior commentator on current events, told The Epoch Times on July 12 that this first and foremost reflects the arbitrariness of government power.

For the sake of preventing and controlling the epidemic, the government limited personal freedom, using the method “it is better to kill by mistake than to miss it”, completely disregarding how people’s daily life will be affected. Secondly, it also reflects that the government has not loosened the “Zero-Covid” policy while its tightness keeps active.

Tang pointed out that this phenomenon also reflects the actual situation of Shanghai’s epidemic, which may be much more severe than the official announcement. It was only under intense pressure within the CCP that this “Internet spreading virus” joke was made, and such an extreme policy of “it is better to kill by mistake than to miss” appeared. 

According to The Epoch Times, on July 11, when CDC officials clarified the mistake, the health code was changed to green.

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