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Head of big data bureau suspended
Published on: 2022-01-06
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China’s Covid-19 health code system that strictly governs people’s movements crashed in Xi’an this week, worsening conditions in the locked-down city where the country’s worst outbreak since Wuhan has been unfolding.

The crash has complicated efforts to weed out cases through mass testing, created hurdles for people seeking care at hospitals and led to the suspension of a top official.

Liu Jun, head of Xi’an’s big-data bureau, was temporarily dismissed over performance failures, the municipal Communist Party Committee said in a statement. While the committee didn’t explicitly lay out the reason behind its decision, it came after Xi’an’s health code system -- which is under Liu’s purview and tracks individuals’ movements and vaccination status -- broke down.

The system crash meant that locals were unable to access their Covid infection status after Xi’an embarked on a new widespread round of nucleic acid tests, according to a media report. The provincial government said in a statement later that the system was temporarily paralyzed due to overwhelming traffic, and being fixed. It had also experienced technical issues in December.

The provincial women’s federation is investigating reports that a pregnant woman in Xi’an lost her baby after being refused entry to a hospital on New Year’s Day because she couldn’t show she was infection-free via the health code app. A video posted Tuesday showing what appeared to be a woman bleeding on the sidewalk outside a hospital in Xi’an’s Gaoxin district was trending on Weibo.

“The Xi’an outbreak is the most severe after the Wuhan lockdown,” Zeng Guang, one of China’s top Covid-19 advisers and former chief scientist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, was quoted as saying by a local newspaper Tuesday. “We hope Xi’an can create a new experience in containing an outbreak in the short-term, after losing control at the very initial stage.”







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