Theater in S. China’s Guangdong apologizes for its admission notice banning the entry of visitors with an infection history of COVID-19
Published: Jul 12, 2022 10:03 PM
Photo: Screenshot from Sina Weibo

Photo: Screenshot from Sina Weibo

A theater in South China's Guangdong Province on Tuesday apologized and said it had revised an admission notice which prohibited the entry of visitors who were once infected with COVID-19, amid an outcry against discrimination. 

An internet user on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo exposed online that the revised notice of entry by the Foshan Grand Theatre in Foshan city, South China's Guangdong Province, contained apparent discriminatory terms against recovered COVID-19 patients. 

The notice specified in its terms revised on July 8 that recovered confirmed patients who have been discharged from hospital, asymptomatic infections who have been released from centralized quarantine and personnel who are still under follow-up or medical observation are prohibited from entering the theater. 

According to media reports, the rule was also stipulated in the notice of entry requirements released by the theater as early as last December. Apart from it, people with 10 abnormal symptoms including fever, dry cough, fatigue, loss of smell and taste, blocked nose, runny nose, sore throat, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and diarrhea were also denied entry into the theater in the notice last December. 

Amid the outcry against discrimination, the theater updated the admission notice around Tuesday noon, stipulating that confirmed patients and asymptomatic infections cured and discharged from hospital who are still under home health monitoring are prohibited from entering the theater. 

Despite that the incident in Foshan was an individual case, the difficulty of job-hunting for people in Shanghai with a history of COVID-19 infection has also drawn public attention. 

Articles about job discrimination against recovered COVID-19 patients have been circulating online these days, with many Chinese media outlets reporting that job postings from certain companies indicated they were not hiring candidates who have a history of infection. 

An article that went viral on Monday exposed that a recovered COVID-19 patient was living in a public toilet at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station after she failed to secure a job. 

Her difficulty to land a job is a direct result of the suspicion surrounding recovered patients that they may test positive for COVID-19 again. 

As a matter of fact, the updated ninth edition of COVID-19 prevention and control protocol released on June 28 specified that even when the recovered patient has respiratory symptoms or not, they should not be placed under management or have their close contacts decided when their cycle threshold (Ct) values of nucleic acid testing is 35 or above. 

In terms of whether recovered patients of COVID-19 are infectious, Jiao Yahui, Director of Medical Administration Bureau of the National Health Commission, had stated in March that clinical studies have shown that in COVID-19 patients in the progress of recovery, when their Ct value is 35 or above, no live virus can be isolated from their samples, which means that these patients are no longer infectious. 

Hu Bijie, member of the Shanghai COVID-19 medical treatment expert team as well as director of the Department of Infectious Diseases from Zhongshan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University, also pointed out in April that experts found that recovered patients who test positive again or who are confirmed with COVID-19 again did not infect others or cause transmission. 

Responding to public calls on this situation, the Shanghai government stressed at a press briefing on Monday that employers cannot fire or refuse to hire employees because of past COVID-19 infection following media reports of work discrimination.

As of press time, the job-hunter who had stayed at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station has found a job at a courier company with the help of many people. 

Global Times