According to media reports, Chinese officials apologised to residents of a gated community in Guangzhou for removing the locks on their doors.
According to the BBC, a number of people at the apartment complex in the southern Chinese city had recently tested positive for Covid. Officials were looking for close contacts who may have gone into hiding to avoid being transferred to a quarantine facility.
China has a strict zero-Covid policy in place, and quarantines are common.
Those who were victims of the break-ins have been told that they will be compensated for their losses, according to the BBC.
According to the Tianmu News outlet, grassroots officials and community workers broke the locks on at least 84 front doors.
On July 10, the incident occurred, shortly after several people at the complex tested positive for the virus.
Residents were relocated to a centralised quarantine facility, according to the Global Times, but “some close contacts were found hiding in their houses”, leading to searches of other homes for “hidden residents”.
Some of the break-ins were captured on video and shared on popular social networks such as Sina Weibo.
It sparked an angry reaction, with many calling for those involved to be arrested for illegal entry, given that trespassing is a crime in China, according to the BBC.
On Tuesday, the district government of Guangzhou’s Liwan district apologised for the break-ins “deviated from the requirements of epidemic prevention”.
It stated that an investigation would be conducted and that those responsible would be punished.