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Officials punished after virus carrier leaves Wuhan for Beijing

By CAO YIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-03-03 07:31
Photo taken on Feb 21, 2020 shows the gate of Wuhan women's prison in Hubei province. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/chinadaily.com.cn]

Case review

Huang, 61, was a cashier of the water conservation bureau in Xuan'en county, Hubei province. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison for graft on Feb 18, 2014.

After her sentence was reduced, she was due to be released from prison on Feb 17, and the prison contacted her family to arrange for her to return home.

Before Feb 17, Huang's brother in Enshi in Hubei and her daughter in Beijing both said they could not take Huang back home due to the traffic restrictions imposed during the epidemic.

After some prison officers had been confirmed to have the infection, Huang was quarantined in the prison on Feb 17.

The prison monitored her body temperature 13 times from Feb 17 to Feb 21, and found it was higher than 37.3 C on Feb 18 and Feb 19.During the period, Huang asked if she could go home, so the prison contacted her family again and her daughter agreed to help.

On Feb 19, Huang's family called the hotline of the disease prevention and control center in Beijing, and asked whether people could come to Beijing from Wuhan, and got the reply: "If you can leave Wuhan, Beijing will not impose any traffic restrictions."

Before leaving the prison, Huang was told the epidemic prevention rules and wrote a letter in which she promised to undergo 14 days of quarantine after returning home.

On Feb 22, the car Huang was traveling in entered Beijing, and the health situation and identities of the passengers and driver had to be checked by a police officer on the Daqing-Guangzhou Highway. The temperatures of the three people in the car were normal, but the officer did not confirm their identities, as required by epidemic control regulations, before letting them pass.

At around 2 am on Feb 22, Huang entered the Xinyijiayuan community without having her temperature checked or her identity registered.

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