TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Videos surfaced earlier this week showing fights breaking out in a neighborhood in Dalian, China, between quarantine personnel and local residents rioting over allegations that outsiders had been allowed to cut in line to take Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) tests.
The northeastern city of Dalian is starting to see a new outbreak of the coronavirus, with China's National Health Commission reporting 52 new cases between July 22 and July 29. Due to fears the outbreak will continue to spread, the government has ordered nucleic acid tests in communities believed to be most at risk.
However, testing is not going as harmoniously as the Chinese government would like. On Saturday (July 25) a fight broke out between quarantine personnel and locals at a testing station in Dalian's Ganjingzi District.
Police arrived on the scene to investigate and detained four people for causing a disturbance. According to a preliminary investigation, a 33-year-old man surnamed Pang (龐) was restrained by epidemic prevention volunteers for deliberately cutting in line, reported China's state-run mouthpiece Xinhua.
Soon, Pang's 51-year-old father, 45-year-old aunt, and 22-year-old cousin arrived at the scene and allegedly verbally assaulted and struck the medical staff. During the scuffle, Pang and his family members allegedly knocked over nucleic acid testing equipment, forcing the testing to be suspended.
Late at night on Monday (July 27), an angry mob numbering in the hundreds gathered in the nearby community. In a video of the incident, residents can be seen shouting, hurling objects, and pushing and shoving each other, reported TVBS.
As emotions boiled over, a number of fights broke out, and police were dispatched to the scene in order to restore order. The residents were reportedly enraged because they believed property management had used connections to allow outsiders to cut in the line for the tests.
Residents claimed the management had brought in several busloads of people from outside the community. They allege the testing station had run out of test kits by 4 p.m. that day, preventing local residents from being examined.
Police arrived on the scene the next day and said they would review surveillance camera footage to conduct an investigation.
Video of first incident at testing station on July 25:
Video of second incident involving angry mob on July 27: