By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, MAR 27: Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, announced some relaxation to the quarantine policy, which was implemented to curb the pandemic outbreak, on Monday. Beijing’s campaign to repair China’s economy and reputation has led the authorities to relax its policy to start mobilization for business.
The official notice from Lhasa City Epidemic Prevention and Control Leading Committee said that the people from “low-risk” areas who have been quarantined in hotels or elsewhere can move outside if they had been under isolation for a week. The notice was posted on Chinese social media which also said that people arriving from medium and high-risk places should be quarantined for 7 and 14 days respectively, reports the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), which translated the official announcement.
The Pro-Tibetan advocacy group has raised concern over the relaxation by citing the New York Times’ report on Chinese surveillance plan; a controversial, color-coded QR system that depicts an individual’s heath and shows status based on one’s travel history, place of origin, etc. The NYT report says that the software “appears to share information with the police, setting a template for new forms of automated social control that could persist long after the epidemic subsides.” The report anticipates a more rigorous surveillance system in the future if and when the pandemic ceases to exist.
The Chinese authorities recently reopened tourist sites in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan which has caused fear of the virus resurfacing in the region. A Tibetan living in Dartsedo told RFA, “We are still scared of the virus. We have self-quarantined and hardly go out, and if we do, we wear facemasks. But now that they are reopening the tourist sites in Kardze, hundreds of [Han] Chinese visitors are coming into our area every day. It is very concerning because just one of those tourists can start the spread of the coronavirus here again.”
The official notice by the Lhasa City Epidemic Prevention and Control Leading Committee reads (translated by ICT): “To all the hotels and communities under quarantine:
In accordance with Lhasa City Epidemic Prevention and Control Leading Committee’s decision, people from low risk areas who are in quarantine in hotels can be out of isolation from today and move outside if they have already spent a week in isolation till date. Those who are in quarantine outside of hotels having arrived from low risk areas can be out of isolation tomorrow onwards. Beginning from tomorrow, people from low risk areas will not be put under quarantine. Those who have been in quarantine for 7 days in hotels can be out of isolation tomorrow onwards. Those in quarantine at work place and at home should follow the notice that will be sent tonight. Those arriving from medium risk areas should be in quarantine for 7 days and those from high risk areas should be in quarantine for 14 days.”