Officials from disease prevention and control department urged local authorities to rectify or avoid implementing long-term lockdowns while combating the COVID-19 epidemic.
"Long-term lockdowns or residential quarantines have not only greatly affected people's daily lives and work, but have also caused anxiety and hardships. We should rectify or avoid such measures or decisions," said Cheng Youquan, an official with the National Administration of Disease Prevention and Control.
He said that governments at all levels should improve their abilities to classify areas as low- or high-risk.
"The high-risk areas should be classified by building unit and not be expanded wantonly - only when health authorities can't define the exact source of transmission or if there is widespread transmission in the community," Cheng said. "But the local authorities should be applying restrictions and lifting them quickly with timely nucleic acid tests and analyses of epidemic situations."
He added that the local authorities should also classify people with possible infection risks according to findings from epidemiological surveys. They must also avoid extending the scope of risk areas out of fear of people visiting areas that a confirmed case has visited.
"As for the high-risk areas, the authorities are required to perform strict management while also offering services to people in home quarantine to meet their needs for basic living supplies and medical services," he said.
"It's also necessary to provide psychological counseling for people who are locked down or in quarantine and care for vulnerable people, including the elderly, the disabled and pregnant women, to help them solve their problems."