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    To Fight COVID-19, District Rewards Outing Untested Neighbors

    With a fifth round of testing coming up, a district of the Chinese city Xiamen wants people to tattle on hold-outs.
    Sep 24, 2021#Coronavirus

    A district of the eastern city Xiamen, currently struggling to contain China’s latest COVID-19 flare-up, has promised to pay people for reporting anyone who has yet to get tested for the coronavirus this month.

    People whose tip-offs could be verified will receive 1,000 yuan ($155), Tong’an District said in an announcement Friday, a day after ordering the fifth round of district-wide testing in just 10 days.

    Since Sept. 10, when the first case of the current outbreak was discovered in Fujian province, where Xiamen is located, there have been 453 local COVID-19 cases.

    The outbreak, attributed to the delta variant, is mostly dying down, but Tong’an District still registered 10 new cases on Thursday. It is the only area in the city categorized as “high-risk.” Residents have been ordered to stay indoors since the first local case.

    Some Xiamen residents agreed the severity of the situation means such “tough measures” are appropriate.

    “Although the nucleic acid tests scheduled by residential communities or companies are convenient enough for people to get tested, I’ve noticed that people still have different mindsets on the measures and that many are still too lazy or unwilling to take the test,” a Xiamen native surnamed Wang told Sixth Tone.

    The Tong’an District government requires informers to provide the names of themselves and of the person they are reporting on, saying the privacy of both tipper and hold-out would be protected.

    But that promise might not be strong enough for some residents. A government worker who answered the tip-off hotline told Sixth Tone that there have been two calls since the announcement was made, but that in neither case the person had been willing to provide the name of the person they wanted to report.

    “Such information didn’t exactly help our screening process,” said the worker, who wished to remain anonymous. “Residents might mostly want to report on people who are close to them, so they’re afraid to reveal their real names.”

    Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.

    (Header image: Residents line up to get tested for COVID-19 in Xiamen, Fujian province, Sept. 20, 2021. Shen Yanqun/People Visual)