Coronavirus Live Updates: Infections Skyrocket to Nearly 50,000 in Hubei Province

Officials in the southwestern province of Yunnan announced a plan to require residents to scan a QR-like code on their phones to enter public places as part of their effort to stop the virus’s spread.

The new program will “allow big data to become the ‘piercing eyes’ of epidemic prevention and control,” the Yunnan government said in a statement on Wednesday.

The program has already begun in the county of Luliang, and more than 5,600 scans have been performed at hundreds of venues, the statement said. In the next 12 days, it will be implemented across a broad variety of public venues, including medical facilities, hotels, malls, supermarkets, transport checkpoints, remote villages and farmers’ markets.

Residents who refuse to scan their codes could be barred entry or exit, and those who try to force their way through could face legal consequences, People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party newspaper, said on the social platform Weibo.

Photographs shared on Wednesday by a party-run newspaper in the city of Lijiang in Yunnan showed sheets of paper emblazoned with the codes, labeled “enter” and “exit,” plastered across walls and counters.

Reporting and research was contributed by Gillian Wong, Chris Buckley, Sui-Lee Wee, Steven Lee Myers, Keith Bradsher, Amber Wang, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Yiwei Wang, Claire Fu, Amy Qin, Elaine Yu, Tariro Mzezewa and Niraj Chokski.