China has built a massive COVID-19 isolation center made up of row upon row of temporary buildings over a vast expanse in the country’s south, as officials continue to treat the virus as a threat that needs to be stamped out.
Drone footage shared on Douyin, Tiktok’s twin service in China, shows scores of what appear to be pre-fabricated structures similar to shipping containers lined up in a clearing surrounded by forest. Several social media users said the video showed a Covid quarantine facility in Guangan city, Sichuan.
Under China’s Covid Zero policy, everyone infected with the virus and all their close contacts must go into centralized isolation facilities for at least a week. Provinces were told in March to build two to three of the so-called makeshift hospitals as a way of quashing transmission in the community.
Construction on the Guangan city site, which can house 14,000 people, started in April, according to a local Covid mitigation official who declined to be named as per government rules.
It’s part of a broader plan to provide 20,000 isolation beds across three sites that span 1.3 square kilometers (0.5 square miles), according to the state-run China News Service. At that size, the facilities could encompass roughly 240 American football fields.
The footage was originally shared September 17 on Douyin by a user called Datang Shiye, who didn’t reply to questions from Bloomberg News. Government officials also didn’t respond to requests to verify the video.
Commentary from those sharing the footage ranged from appreciation that the authorities were preparing for future outbreaks, to jail comparisons.