There is a need for constant testing and concern to stay out of China’s coveted QR codes

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Beijing – It sounds like a sci-fi movie: personal code that gives you access to society or turns you into a parody.

In China, the reality of this high technology is here. These health mobile codes are updated in real time with your latest coronavirus test data and movement around town. You lose your green-code status, and you may be locked out of public space for a few days or weeks.

Officials have called the system an innovative way to do what virtually no other nation is yet trying to do: Eliminate all outbreaks of the fast-running omicron form of the coronavirus. It’s an incredibly expensive campaign that tests millions of people every day and has no end.

Chinese university rare coronavirus lockdown protest scene

Remember Tamagotchis? Those digital pocket pets of the 1990s? These codes also require constant care and nutrition, without the need for a negative coronavirus test every one to three days to feed this animal.

Also, if your Tamagotchi dies of negligence, you can restart the game. If you shuffle your coronavirus code, you will not be able to enter a store or public building and may be sent to quarantine.

These QR codes were introduced in the early days of the epidemic for identity detection, but as many cities continue to introduce tests, they are becoming a more intrusive part of life. Keeping in mind the devastation of the complete lockdown in Shanghai, officials hope that the constant tests will help catch their prevalence.

A new word has been coined in Beijing, the capital of China. When you lose the status of your valuable green code in reference to the pop-up alert of the Tangchuan, or “pop-up window,” app. People with “pop-up windows” – a noun that doubles as a verb – are locked out of offices, supermarkets, taxis, buses and any other public space until their location is cleared.

“If you skip one day, you have a problem with a pop-up window,” said Erin Chen, 32, who works in Beijing’s Chawang District, where an outbreak requires daily coronavirus testing this month.

Tanchuang has different levels. If you just missed a coronavirus test, you can remedy your situation by doing a free test at a stand on a sidewalk in every few blocks across Beijing.

But if you are inadvertently designated as a coveted hot zone in a part of the city, you must stay home until a staff member comes to check on you and you are clear – which can take days.

“Stay in place, and wait for a notice for coronavirus testing,” the text message says. “Thank you for your understanding of this difficulty.”

The unfortunate spirits were treated as close acquaintances of a Kovid patient and were assigned to their quarantine center. On Saturday, about 5,000 residents of a Beijing housing complex were taken in for a seven-day quarantine, after 26 cases were found in their community, according to state media.

Authorities have released complex flow charts to explain the different routes to Tanchuang. But hot zones are announced in advance, making it impossible to guarantee a safe trip, no matter how difficult the chart study. Lack of clarity is a feature not a bug: it’s an incentive for everyone, well, just stay home.

This reflects an unusual dimension before traveling across town for a meeting or meeting up with friends – what if the trip reduced your covid code?

Shanghai is facing a mental health crisis as the Kovid lockdown continues

Tanchuang’s indomitable rule There have been some strange experiences. Ren Zunjia, a Shanghai executive, sees himself as a tourist in Beijing, May 4, with a pop-up window. His hotel refused to let him return, saying the whole hotel would be locked down. He ended up fleeing to a remote stretch of the Great Wall.

“I became a wandering spirit where there was nowhere to go in the royal capital,” he wrote in an online post that went viral.

Ren’s pop-up window disappeared on the 5th day, as it came mysteriously, filling him with joy. “My favorite health code, you’re normal !!!”

Beijing residents reported pop-up windows when they walked down the street to buy groceries and even did nothing in their apartments.

Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities appear to be following in the footsteps of Shenzhen, the high-tech hub of southern China, which has been able to prevent further outbreaks through continuous coronavirus testing of its 17.6 million people after a week-long lockdown in March.

Although Shenzhen daily coronavirus cases have dropped to zero, all public spaces require a negative test within 72 hours, with some venues setting a 48-hour low window. In the evening, long lines at the test center snakes across the city.

Klaus Jenkel, chair of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in South China and a resident of Shenzhen, said some test sites have shorter waiting times, while others can exceed half an hour.

“This test is taking away a lot of people’s time,” he said.

According to estimates by Soochow Securities of China, these tests cost from 50 cents to 19 1.19 per test, which means costs could reach 1.27 percent of China’s nominal GDP if 48-hour tests are standardized in major cities.

China’s financial capital, Shanghai, did not require continuous testing before going into a traumatic two-month lockdown in March. As it began to emerge, Shanghai City announced plans for a “normal” citywide coronavirus test aimed at having a site within a 15-minute walk from anywhere.

The advent of a digital code that protects access to public life is a prelude to the awakening of China’s social credit system. Launched in 2014, fears that the social credit system will use “big data” to rate individuals have caused considerable controversy, potentially influencing what they can do and where they can go – a particularly popular episode of the television series “Black” The mirror reminds me. “

Jeremy Daum, a senior fellow at the Paul Sai China Center at Yale Law School in Beijing, said the social credit system was widely misunderstood and ended up being practiced as a regulatory measure for business. As for health codes, he said they differ from social credit in their narrow focus on coronavirus health data.

“It looks at a specific data set of your test results and looks like where you are,” Daum said. “The difference is that people imagine the social credit system analyzing all aspects of your life.”

Still, some residents are concerned that health codes may be tolerated by social workers.

On Monday, Lao Dongyan, a law professor at Tsinghua University, wrote on social media platform Weibo that he was concerned about Beijing’s announcement that public buses would require health code check-in.

“This means that the health code can stay with us permanently in our lives, regulating our freedom of movement at any time,” he wrote. “I am very concerned about this, because there is a big hidden danger in such a move.”

Authorities said the ongoing testing program was temporary, but did not give a timeline for when coronavirus vaccine levels would be high enough to lift control. While many test sites in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen have pop-up tents, others have more permanent structures that suggest residents can stay for longer journeys.

A Shanghai resident, a 24-year-old woman named Liu, who declined to give her full name to discuss local regulations, said a powerful testing booth had been set up outside her housing complex, equipped with an air-conditioned system.

“In the future, this 48-hour PCR requirement means you have to test every day,” he said. “If you have a gap, your code will turn gray and you can’t go anywhere.”

Wu reported from Taipei, Taiwan. Seoul’s Lyric Lee and Taipei’s Vik Chiang contributed to this report.

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