Australian woman faces deportation after allegedly violating Beijing’s coronavirus quarantine
A video uploaded to Chinese social media platform Weibo appeared to capture the woman running outside her apartment.
An Australian woman is facing deportation after Beijing authorities cancelled her visa for allegedly breaking a mandatory 14-day coronavirus quarantine by jogging outside her apartment.
Local police announced the decision yesterday when the number of new domestic infections in mainland China fell to zero for the first time since the outbreak started, while the city saw a steady stream of imported COVID-19 cases over the past week.
Beijing authorities recently announced that all overseas travellers arriving in the city from March 16 needed to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a designated hotel or other assigned location at their own expense.
But people who arrived in the city before that date can self-isolate at home.
A video uploaded to Chinese social media platform Weibo on Tuesday appears to capture the woman running outside her apartment on Sunday afternoon.
In the video, the woman was confronted by a neighbourhood staff member who told her that she was violating quarantine.
She replied, “I’m just trying to keep healthy,” and then returned to her apartment.
The video quickly went viral on social media and she was stood down by pharmaceutical company Bayer the next day.
The company posted a statement on its official Weibo account on Wednesday, saying it had decided to fire her, effective immediately.
The Beijing Public Security Bureau also released a statement on Thursday to announce their decision the day before to cancel the woman’s visa and for her to leave the country “within a time limit”.
“At about 15:00 on March 15th, the [district] Chaoyang Public Security Bureau received a warning from a community health and epidemic prevention staff member: a woman refused to cooperate with the community epidemic prevention work,” the statement said.
“After receiving the alarm, police at Hujialou Police Station rushed to the scene.”
The statement added the woman, “an Australian”, entered Beijing Capital Airport on March 14 and her working visa was valid until September 5, 2020.
It said the Beijing Public Security Bureau decided to cancel her working visa permit in accordance with the relevant law.
The ABC has contacted the Australian Embassy in China for comment, but it did not reply by publication time. The woman also could not be reached for comment.
But in a statement provided to the ABC, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it stood “ready to offer consular assistance” to any Australian citizen should they request it.
Anger erupts on Chinese social media over ‘selfish’ act
The video of the incident, which has been viewed more than 40 million times on Weibo, has sparked outrage among Chinese internet users.
“Our nation won’t welcome people who don’t respect our regulations,” one Weibo user said.
Another commented: “She is so selfish. She didn’t care about our community’s safety and health risks, and even insulted the community staff with her prejudice and privilege.”
While no new domestic cases of COVID-19 were reported on Thursday, China still has the highest number of cases in the world with some 81,200 confirmed infections and more than 3,130 deaths.
While mainland China is battling a rising number of imported cases, the Hong Kong Government on Wednesday announced it would distribute electronic wristbands to monitor whether people are abiding by quarantine rules.
“In light of the number of confirmed cases in recent days, the threat of transmission of the virus into Hong Kong from overseas is huge,” Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said in a statement.
“I appeal to all the people under quarantine to abide strictly with the requirements of the quarantine order by not going out for 14 days. Otherwise, there will be legal responsibility.”