COVID-19-stricken Hainan in South China punishes 6 officials for dereliction of duty in fighting epidemic
Published: Aug 15, 2022 12:13 AM
Residents wait to take nucleic acid tests in Jiyang district, Sanya, South China's Hainan Province on August 13, 2022. Photo: VCG
Residents wait to take nucleic acid tests in Jiyang district, Sanya, South China's Hainan Province on August 13, 2022. Photo: VCG

South China's Hainan Province announced to punish six officials late Sunday for inaction and lack of responsibility when handling the recent local COVID-19 outbreak.

As the entire province is devoted to the battle against COVID-19, the provincial disciplinary department said some officials were derelict in their duty and failed to take responsibility, a notice released by the disciplinary department reads.

During the two weeks since August 1, Hainan has registered 7,736 positive COVID-19 cases.

Lin Hui, deputy head of the health commission of Jiyang district in Sanya was investigated by Sanya's disciplinary department for dereliction of duty in managing a hotline regarding COVID-19. One telephone operator was caught deliberately making a hotline that was supposed to provide mental health advice appear engaged to callers for as long as 90 minutes. The operator was dismissed.

In another case, local officials Wu Tingli and Wu Tinggang from Danzhou city were investigated and punished with five days' administrative detention because they gathered to play poker and gambled when they were on duty, and later had physical conflicts with local residents, causing a severe impact.

Three more local officials that were responsible for community affairs in Haikou city's Qiongshan district were punished after community staff failed to come to work on time and left early when they should have stayed at their posts to deal with the COVID-19 emergency.

In the notice, the Hainan provincial disciplinary department reminded officials across all levels to shoulder their responsibility and do a good job in dealing with epidemic-related affairs.

The authorities will seriously investigate and deal with problems of dereliction of duty and violation of discipline and law so as to provide a strong and powerful disciplinary guarantee for the province to extinguish the epidemic as soon as possible, it said.

At Sunday's press conference, an official from the provincial government said that the anti-epidemic work in Sanya, the hardest-hit city in Hainan in the recent outbreak is still challenging, but the rising momentum has been effectively curbed.

Health authorities from Sanya said at the press conference that the proportion of positive cases detected from the non-controlled areas has dropped from 90 percent to 2.9 percent.

Sanya has tried to cut off the virus transmission chains with multiple methods including physical isolation. The city has carried out 12 rounds of nucleic acid testing.

While striving to curb the flare-up, Sanya has assisted nearly 10,000 tourists who were stranded in the city to return home from August 9 to 13.