A report causing concern is that authorities of Shandong province have issued a special bond program for the construction of a square cabin isolation site in Haiyang city, according to NetEase.
The total investment amount is about $17 million, or (120 million yuan), including about $14 million, or 80% of the total funding raised from special government bond issuance.
In addition to Haiyang, many other cities in China are building square cabin quarantine centers, indicating the isolation industry is increasing.
Haiyang’s construction project plan shows a specific performance analysis of the isolation site. Notably, one year is calculated by 360 days, including 140 days for the epidemic period and the rest for the non-epidemic one. This plan is to cover the next five years.
The quarantine site will cover an area of 70 acres with a total of 1,000 quarantine beds. It is expected to accommodate an average of 100 persons in isolation per day.
The main revenue will come from 3 sources: rental for retirement use as well as parking fees during non-pandemic periods, and meal-preparation services during epidemic periods. The total income is predicted to reach about $34 million, or (240 million yuan).
The population of Haiyang city was almost 583,000 in the seventh census in mainland China as of November 1, 2020.
According to the construction plan, the average quarantine of 100 people per day, seven days per person, and 110 days per year during the pandemic period, 16,000 people will be quarantined in the square cabin annually, accounting for 2.8% of the total local population. In the subsequent five years, 80,000 people are forecast to be isolated, making up 13.8% of the city population. In other words, almost 1 out of 7 Haiyang citizens will be quarantined in the cabins. However, this year, infections in Haiyang of COVID positive cases have been low.
Han Bing, a visiting professor at the School of Law, People’s University of China, commented, “Insane! Building a square cabin to make it an industry, are they expecting no end to the epidemic?”
Since March this year, there have been many similar projects, most of which are located in Shandong province.
Tai’an city estimates to spend $40 million building a square cabin isolation site. Nearly 80% of the total investment will come from special government debt.
Another city in Shandong, Yantai, followed suit with a total investment of $18 million, of which $14.2 million will also be from special government debt.
Data show that 15 prefecture-level cities and subordinate areas under Shandong Province have invested more than 23 billion yuan in building 119 square cabin centers and quarantine sites, with more than 200,000 new beds.
Many other cities and places in China also started the construction of square cabin centers, such as Zhengzhou, Lanzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai.