LA Times reports a woman who flew last week from Massachusetts to Los Angeles — then to Beijing, where she tested positive for coronavirus — is under investigation on allegations of concealing her symptoms and putting fellow travelers at risk of infection.
The woman took fever-reducing medication before boarding a plane and lied to flight attendants, according to Beijing’s disease control center and an Air China representative, who held a news conference on Monday.
The woman, who was hospitalized and is receiving treatment, is under investigation for the crime of “impeding prevention of infectious diseases.” According to Chinese law, she could face up to three years of imprisonment or detention with possible forced labor, or up to seven years of prison if there are “serious consequences.”
As the pandemic worsens around the world but slows in China, authorities in Beijing are tightening controls. All passengers arriving in Beijing from abroad, including Chinese nationals, are required to quarantine in government centers for 14 days.
Shanghai and other cities have enacted similar measures for travelers from a growing list of high-risk countries with coronavirus outbreaks, including Iran, Italy, South Korea, France, Spain, Germany, England, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Holland, Denmark, Austria and the United States.
In recent days, coronavirus cases in other countries have outnumbered new domestic infections. While Chinese diplomats and propaganda authorities have boasted in recent weeks of China’s victory over the coronavirus and its superiority to other countries’ responses, doctors and scientists warn that a resurgence of cases is possible as people return to work and others fly back home to China from abroad.
“We need to be highly alert toward imported infection cases,” Zhong Nanshan, a Chinese doctor and government advisor, said at a news conference in Guangzhou on Wednesday. “For this first wave of imported cases from highly affected countries, we should not just look at their symptoms; we should test them.”
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