New Coronavirus Variant Found in Heilongjiang Province
(Minghui.org) Two coronavirus cases were identified in Heihe City, Heilongjiang Province, on the afternoon of December 28, 2019, one of them a high school senior with no symptoms and the other the student’s grandmother who lives in the same household.
In the following several days, more cases were confirmed. Chinese authorities reported on January 3, 2021, that 13 cases had been confirmed by midnight on January 2. It remains unclear whether all 13 cases were from Heihe City.
DNA testing on samples from the student and grandmother was both positive according to Heihe Second Hospital. Their samples were then submitted to provincial agencies. According to virus policy in China, positive cases can only be referred to as “suspected cases” until they are verified and officially listed as “confirmed cases” by provincial authorities.
Another confirmed case was Ding Yu, whose parents were confirmed as asymptomatic patients. Ding was also placed under quarantine.
Analysis of blood samples from these 13 patients showed the virus had gone through mutations. More specifically, the mutation is different from all other coronavirus variants observed in the world so far. Furthermore, the source of the mutated virus remains unknown.
Samples Taken from 100,000 People
Between late December 28 and early December 29, Heihe First High School notified all students and teachers to receive DNA tests at the school stadium. They were then isolated the next day to wait for test results. Medical professionals from nearby regions were also summoned to conduct testing for all 100,000 residents in the metro area of Heihe. Sample collection was completed between late December 29 and December 31.
According to information received by Minghui, residents were divided by communities and told to go to nearby school stadiums, community recreational facilities, corporate centers, and hotel lobbies to get tested.
Located in northern Heilongjiang Province, Heihe City has a daily average temperature of -27 ºF (-16 ºC) in January, even colder at night. After waiting outdoors for several hours to be tested, people complained. They were then allowed to wait indoors, but social distancing could not be maintained.
Some residents began to wait in line at 8 p.m. and were not tested until after midnight. Health experts warned such crowds could lead to clusters of infection. One CCP official said since there had been new cases confirmed on a rolling basis, a second round of citywide testing may be needed.
Heihe City issued a policy on January 3 urging people to work from home if at all possible. Taxis and public transportation were suspended on the same day. Certain types of business, such as entertainment facilities, had stopped operating on December 29.
A CCP official claimed that Vice Premier Sun Chunlan would come to Heilhe, followed by another visit by provincial officials. Some officials could be demoted in places where positive cases were reported.
When Sun visited the epicenter of Wuhan on March 5, 2020, unsatisfactory residents vented their anger over information cover-up by calling out, “Fake, fake!” “It’s all fake!”
Severe Human Rights Abuse and Its Consequence
Despite the pandemic, the Heihe City Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) and 610 Office have been closely implementing the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong. In June 2020, these two extrajudicial agencies ordered local police to visit families one by one to ensure no one would practice Falun Gong.
After Western countries including the U.S. imposed sanctions against the CCP for human rights abuses, these agencies continued to pressure lower-level agencies to intensify the suppression of Falun Gong. They also threatened to cancel bonuses or take Falun Gong practitioners to brainwashing centers.
When Jia Wenjiang, Party Secretary of Xiangyanyang Village in Heihe City, and other officials repeatedly harassed practitioners in October 2019, practitioner Liu Zhigang advised them to stop participating in the persecution since practitioners only wanted to be better citizens following Falun Gong’s principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. He also explained to them the traditional belief that good is rewarded while evil is punished.
Jia and other officials said the order came from county and city officials. He also threatened that if these practitioners did not stop practicing Falun Gong, it could negatively affect their children’s schooling and employment.