Infected Migrant Workers Blame Chinese Authorities for COVID-19 Spread at Hospitals, Authorities Dismiss as Rumors

Migrant workers from all over China’s northeast have been recruited to Jilin Province, hard hit by COVID-19, to urgently build makeshift hospitals for quarantine. But entire teams of workers were subsequently infected as quarantine patients were sent to the hospitals as construction work was still being completed.According to the workers, local authorities have concealed the cases and have not provided them any follow up care or assistance. Several construction workers laboring at the Jilin Dahongtu mobile hospital told the Chinese language Epoch Times that hundreds of their colleagues became infected and that all of them were being moved around from one isolation center to another without treatment, left feeling neglected by the authorities. Jilin, following Shanghai, is reporting its worst COVID-19 outbreak yet. On April 1, Zhang Li, deputy director of the Chinese communist regime’s Jilin Provincial Health and Health Commission, said at a press conference that Jilin Province had opened a total of 22 makeshift hospitals with 31,786 beds, and was treating 24,181 patients. Residents line up for coronavirus screening during the COVID-19 lockdown in Changchun in northeastern China’s Jilin province on March 12, 2022. (Chinatopix Via AP) Jilin City officials admitted that infections had occurred at the makeshift hospital construction site in the North High-tech Zone of the city on March 28. However, local officials claimed there had been no virus transmission on the site, and that the rights and interests of the workers were being effectively protected and guaranteed. However, many workers on the many construction sites have reported contracting COVID-19 from being in the vicinity of quarantined patients at the hospitals. A number of workers at the construction site of Jilin Dahongtu makeshift hospital told The Epoch Times on March 31 about transmission of the virus at their work site and their impossible working conditions. They blamed the construction company and mismanagement by local authorities for their infections. Worker Tan Congming (pseudonym) told The Epoch Times, “When our construction was not yet complete, close contacts were sent in dozens of buses everyday to the makeshift hospital. Many of them tested positive and were taken away by 120 (the ambulance service) every day. Management didn’t tell us anything at all, and the place has never been disinfected.” Worker Zeng Tao (pseudonym) told The Epoch Times, “They sent patients in before the construction was completed. There were no protective measures. The outbreak in cluster among workers occurred on March 23, and many tested positive at the same time.” Since starting construction work in mid-March, workers have been forced to work 18 hour shifts. Other times, they have had shifts lasting 24 hours, after which they get only two hours of sleep before being called to work again. The workers eat and sleep in their hundreds at the construction sites as well. They told The Epoch Times that the China Construction Eighth Bureau, which oversees their work, had not provided any workers with protective equipment. The workers revealed that some of them tested positive at the construction site on March 22, but the leaders of the Eighth Bureau and Jilin City did not stop their work immediately, and even asked them to work overtime. On March 24, these workers were transferred to concentrated quarantine sites and also moved around to different places, after which posts started appearing on social media that some workers had become infected with COVID-19. Residents queue to undergo nucleic acid tests for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a residential area in Changchun in China’s northeastern Jilin Province on March 11, 2022. (STR/AFP via Getty Images) “As far as I know, there may be more than 400 workers who have tested positive now,” Tan, who also tested positive, said. He said he felt the risk of transmission was increased when the authorities moved them around from facility to facility. Worker Ma Qi (pseudonym) told The Epoch Times on March 30 that more than 100 infected patients, including himself, were transferred from Bai city to the makeshift hospital at Jilin Women’s College. It took seven hours. “We have not been given any medicine here, nor have we been tested. The patients who have coughed up blood or have a high fever have not been given any medicine. There are both close contacts and positive people sharing the same cabin,” Ma said. Ma said the conditions in the hospitals were poor: “There are about 2,000 people in the makeshift hospital for quarantine. Eight people share a room with bunk beds, both men and women. The food provided is cold. There are old people and children in the room. One father and his two sons have to share a bed. The ventilation in the room is very bad.” The Epoch Times called the Northeast Branch of China Construction Eighth Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd., to inquire about the infection of the hundreds of constructi

Infected Migrant Workers Blame Chinese Authorities for COVID-19 Spread at Hospitals, Authorities Dismiss as Rumors

Migrant workers from all over China’s northeast have been recruited to Jilin Province, hard hit by COVID-19, to urgently build makeshift hospitals for quarantine. But entire teams of workers were subsequently infected as quarantine patients were sent to the hospitals as construction work was still being completed.

According to the workers, local authorities have concealed the cases and have not provided them any follow up care or assistance.

Several construction workers laboring at the Jilin Dahongtu mobile hospital told the Chinese language Epoch Times that hundreds of their colleagues became infected and that all of them were being moved around from one isolation center to another without treatment, left feeling neglected by the authorities.

Jilin, following Shanghai, is reporting its worst COVID-19 outbreak yet.

On April 1, Zhang Li, deputy director of the Chinese communist regime’s Jilin Provincial Health and Health Commission, said at a press conference that Jilin Province had opened a total of 22 makeshift hospitals with 31,786 beds, and was treating 24,181 patients.

Epoch Times Photo
Residents line up for coronavirus screening during the COVID-19 lockdown in Changchun in northeastern China’s Jilin province on March 12, 2022. (Chinatopix Via AP)

Jilin City officials admitted that infections had occurred at the makeshift hospital construction site in the North High-tech Zone of the city on March 28. However, local officials claimed there had been no virus transmission on the site, and that the rights and interests of the workers were being effectively protected and guaranteed.

However, many workers on the many construction sites have reported contracting COVID-19 from being in the vicinity of quarantined patients at the hospitals.

A number of workers at the construction site of Jilin Dahongtu makeshift hospital told The Epoch Times on March 31 about transmission of the virus at their work site and their impossible working conditions. They blamed the construction company and mismanagement by local authorities for their infections.

Worker Tan Congming (pseudonym) told The Epoch Times, “When our construction was not yet complete, close contacts were sent in dozens of buses everyday to the makeshift hospital. Many of them tested positive and were taken away by 120 (the ambulance service) every day. Management didn’t tell us anything at all, and the place has never been disinfected.”

Worker Zeng Tao (pseudonym) told The Epoch Times, “They sent patients in before the construction was completed. There were no protective measures. The outbreak in cluster among workers occurred on March 23, and many tested positive at the same time.”

Since starting construction work in mid-March, workers have been forced to work 18 hour shifts. Other times, they have had shifts lasting 24 hours, after which they get only two hours of sleep before being called to work again.

The workers eat and sleep in their hundreds at the construction sites as well. They told The Epoch Times that the China Construction Eighth Bureau, which oversees their work, had not provided any workers with protective equipment.

The workers revealed that some of them tested positive at the construction site on March 22, but the leaders of the Eighth Bureau and Jilin City did not stop their work immediately, and even asked them to work overtime.

On March 24, these workers were transferred to concentrated quarantine sites and also moved around to different places, after which posts started appearing on social media that some workers had become infected with COVID-19.

Epoch Times Photo
Residents queue to undergo nucleic acid tests for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a residential area in Changchun in China’s northeastern Jilin Province on March 11, 2022. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“As far as I know, there may be more than 400 workers who have tested positive now,” Tan, who also tested positive, said. He said he felt the risk of transmission was increased when the authorities moved them around from facility to facility.

Worker Ma Qi (pseudonym) told The Epoch Times on March 30 that more than 100 infected patients, including himself, were transferred from Bai city to the makeshift hospital at Jilin Women’s College. It took seven hours.

“We have not been given any medicine here, nor have we been tested. The patients who have coughed up blood or have a high fever have not been given any medicine. There are both close contacts and positive people sharing the same cabin,” Ma said.

Ma said the conditions in the hospitals were poor: “There are about 2,000 people in the makeshift hospital for quarantine. Eight people share a room with bunk beds, both men and women. The food provided is cold. There are old people and children in the room. One father and his two sons have to share a bed. The ventilation in the room is very bad.”

The Epoch Times called the Northeast Branch of China Construction Eighth Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd., to inquire about the infection of the hundreds of construction workers and their quarantine and calls for compensation. A staff member said that it was all online rumors.

Interviewees have been given pseudonyms to prevent reprisal from the regime.

Gu Qing’er and Gu Xiaohua contributed to the report.

Alex Wu

Follow

Alex Wu is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.