This City In China Is Paying Its Citizens $1,500 For Testing Positive For COVID-19

How would you feel if you were told that you would get $1,500 (P76,000) for testing positive for COVID-19?

Well, citizens in Harbin, China are luckily (or unluckily?) getting the opportunity.

A scene from Harbin, Heilongjiang province
Photo from Reuters

The city government of Harbin is reportedly paying $1,570 (P80,000) to citizens who test positive for COVID-19, but only if they show up without having to be contact traced. 

A city-wide notification posted on social media platform Weibo on December 2 outlined the city’s plan to offer incentives to potential COVID-19 patients.

It read: “We advise residents to take note of news of where positive COVID-19 cases are surfacing. If you display COVID-19 symptoms like a fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, loss of smell or taste, muscle aches, or diarrhea, do not self-medicate. Wear a mask and head to your nearest clinic, and tell us where you’ve traveled to and who you’ve come into contact with.”

“If you come forward independently after feeling symptoms and visit a medical institution to see a doctor and explain your circumstance, those who test positive for COVID-19 will be rewarded with 10,000 Chinese yuan,” the notice said. 

Harbin, dubbed the “Ice City” of China for its freezing cold temperatures in the winter season, has been efficient in keeping COVID-19 case levels at a minimum. In the first week of December, the city logged in less than 10 cases a day.

Elsewhere in China, cases have slowly risen amidst the threat of the Omicron variant. Around the time the Harbin government introduced the initiative, 61 cases were detected across 31 provinces on December 5, raising the number of active cases in the country to 1,060. 

Art Macky Arquilla

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