Anger over quarantine fees for Shanghai students heading home

Cost of seven-day hotel quarantine equivalent to a whole term’s tuition fee to some students

June 5, 2022
A 'big white' volunteer sits at a compound gate in Shanghai, Xuhui district during 4 day city wide lockdown as it drags on past the planned finish date as Shanghai struggles to control a large outbreak of COVID-19.
Source: iStock

Several provincial authorities in China have announced measures to waive the quarantine fees for students returning from universities in Shanghai amid mounting online complaints.

For students who are originally from Sichuan province and travelled from Covid-affected areas, its capital city Chengdu has made it clear that they will be offered free accommodation for the seven-day managed quarantine. These students need to meet certain requirements, including an itinerary report of their intended destinations to the local authorities before travelling and a negative Covid test result within the past 48 hours.

The controversy came after students who study at institutions in Shanghai and planned to go home during the summer holiday found themselves struggling to meet the cost of managed hotel quarantine in their hometown.

Students complained to local media that they were being charged ¥500 (£60) per day for hotel quarantine – “equivalent to a whole term’s tuition fee” – with additional costs for meals. It was reported that students who had insufficient funds on their arrival were told to “go back to Shanghai” by staff.

In a viral social media post, a student wrote a public letter to the government of Yunnan province to question local rules demanding 21 days of quarantine, after “three months of campus lockdown, two months of building lockdown and dozens of Covid tests”.

Over the past few months, students in Shanghai have been subjected to strict campus lockdowns, with some institutions under pressure to supply food and daily necessities.

Several authorities have responded to the growing anger online by waiving or reducing quarantine fees for returnee students.

Zhengzhou in Henan province has promised free accommodation and refunds for students who have already paid for the quarantine. Similar policies have been announced by authorities in Anhui, Shanxi, and Ningxia. Hohot, the capital city of Inner Mongolia, announced a half-fee waiver for students facing managed quarantine.

karen.liu@timeshighereducation.com

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