Pregnant women, children and the elderly are believed to be among those sent to some of the massive quarantine camps that have sprung up across China to house Covid-19 victims.
ideos have emerged on social media appearing to show rows and rows of cramped metal boxes where people are forced to remain for as long as two weeks.
Those who have experienced the facilities say they have been left with little food in the freezing metal boxes that feature little more than a wooden bed and toilet.
Beijing has introduced draconian measures across the Communist country in an attempt to eradicate the virus that has left more than 20 million people confined to their homes under quarantine.
Banned from leaving their home even to buy food, one city, Anyang, which is home to 5.5 million people, was locked down late Monday after two cases of the omicron variant were reported.
The lockdown of Anyang, which was announced after just two cases of the omicron variant were reported, meant residents were not allowed to go out while stores have been ordered shut except those selling necessities.
It wasn’t clear how long the lockdown of Anyang would last, as it was announced as a measure to facilitate mass testing of residents.
This is standard procedure in China’s strategy of identifying and isolating infected people as quickly as possible.
The lockdowns are the broadest since the shutting down of Wuhan and most of the rest of Hubei province in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
China’s approach has evolved into one of targeting smaller areas hit by outbreaks for lockdowns.
The approach of the Winter Olympics, which open on February 4 in Beijing, and the emergence of omicron have brought back citywide lockdowns in a bid to prevent them from spreading to other parts of China.
Some residents of locked-down cities have told the BBC that they were part of a “big transfer” of thousands of people to the camps.
Residents in the Mingde 8 Yingli housing compound have revealed how they were told just after midnight on January 1 they had to leave their homes and enter the quarantine centre.
A witness claimed 30 buses arrived at the compound, while another said 1,000 people were transferred.
Local reports said residents had mixed while queuing for their Covid tests.
Another city, Tianjin, a major port that is less than an hour from Beijing by high-speed rail, has locked down only affected areas as it carries out mass testing.
At noon last Tuesday, 97 people had tested positive in the city of 14 million people with 49 showing symptoms, 15 without symptoms and 33 awaiting further verification.
More than 2,000 people have been infected in Xi’an in China’s largest outbreak since the initial one in Wuhan.
The ancient capital is a popular tourist stop that is home to the Terracotta Warriors ruins and also a Samsung computer chip factory.
Authorities have credited the lockdown with curtailing the spread, though it disrupted lives and emergency medical treatment for some.
The city reported 13 new cases in the latest 24 hour period, down from more than a hundred a day at the peak of the outbreak.