People wearing face masks commute on a subway train in Chinese capital Beijing on Feb. 10. The number of confirmed infections in China's coronavirus outbreak has reached 40,172 nationwide with more than 3,000 new cases reported, the National Health Commission said on Feb. 10. (Photo: STR/AFP)
In its struggle to fight the spiraling death toll from coronavirus, China has offered rewards to those sharing information about people visiting their villages from virus-infected locations.
The measure comes as the extended Lunar New Year holiday ended over the weekend, raising concerns about millions traveling to work and increasing the chances of spreading the virus across the country.The virus first reported in Wuhan has already claimed more than 900 lives in China and infected over 40,000, stoking public suspicion of people from Hubei province.
The same is true of people from the provinces of Zhejiang and Anhui, where a large number of cases have been confirmed.
In the eastern Chinese city of Tai’an, authorities offered US$190 as a reward for reporting people engaged in “illegal and criminal activities” such as hoarding medical clothing or selling it at premiums.
One area of Shijiazhuang city, the capital of northern China’s Hebei province, offered cash incentives of 2,000 yuan (US$288) to anyone who reports people who have traveled in the past two weeks to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus outbreak.The northeastern city of Changchun in Jilin province threatened to slap a fine of US$380 on people who violate home quarantine measures. Sanjiao town in Guangdong province took a positive approach. It promised a set of 30 masks for anyone providing “effective clues” on people from Hubei province entering the town after Jan. 26. “Sanjiao town uses masks as bait to get information. This is a waste of public resources. I do not recommend this rewarding,” Peng Jianxi, a Catholic and a resident of Shenzhen, told UCA News.Li Pengfei, a Catholic who lives in the Danghan area of Anhui province, said the local administration has also implemented a monetary reward. “If the visitors are verified to be from Hubei, the informer will be rewarded.”