‘Too much to bear’: Second fugitive surrenders to police after being unable to tolerate COVID-19 curbs

A fugitive has surrendered to the Chinese police after being unable to tolerate the restrictions imposed on the country due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The police had been looking for the man for the past three years as he had escaped from custody in 2018 and had been involved in racketeering.

The 42-year-old man, who is in custody right now, said his health deteriorated due to confinement to one place. It also had an adverse impact on his mental health due to the stress.

He was caught in Hangzhou city after the local authorities found out he did not have a health code.

The code, installed in the phone of residents, shows the level of safety or danger a person is in the country.

It is a part of the contact-tracing mechanism across the country. Beijing has followed a strict “zero Covid” strategy involving tight border restrictions and targeted lockdowns since the virus first surfaced in a central city in late 2019.

Also read | China local symptomatic COVID cases rises for a 4th day as Xian outbreak expands

Previously, a 48-year-old man, who had fled police for suspected homicide, had also been caught in the Gansu province of Hangzhou due to the lack of an identification card and a health code.

China is currently battling its worst virus surge in months. The country has showed no let up in its policy of zero tolerance to outbreaks, keeping 13 million people in the city of Xian under rigid lockdown for a seventh day as new COVID-19 infections persisted, with 151 cases reported on Tuesday. 

Authorities have also detained at least seven people in the city over attempting to skip quarantine, disrupting order and spreading rumours, local media said.

The outbreak comes as Beijing prepares to welcome thousands of overseas visitors to February’s Winter Olympics.

(With inputs from agencies)

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