China launches mass testing of local shutdowns in Beijing as Shanghai’s COVID disorders spread despite drastic measures

BeijingChina‘s capital, Beijing, began mass testing of more than 3 million people Monday to find COVID-19 cases and restricted residents of part of the city to their areas, which raised concerns among a wider Shanghai-style lockdown. While so far only 70 cases have been found in the city of more than 21 million since a new outbreak appeared on Friday, authorities have rolled out strict measures under China’s “zero-COVID” policy to try to prevent a further spread of the virus. .

Some residents worked from home, and many filled up with food as a safeguard against the possibility that they could be locked up indoors, as has happened in several cities, including Shanghai’s financial center. The city of Anyang in central China and Dandong on the border with North Korea also started lockdowns as the omicron variant spreads across the vast country.

Shanghai, which has been shut down for more than two weeks, reported more than 19,000 new infections and 51 deaths in the past 24-hour period, pushing the announced death toll from the ongoing outbreak to 138.


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Long queues formed in supermarkets in central Beijing. Shoppers snatched rice, noodles, vegetables and other foods, while store employees hurriedly refilled some empty shelves. State media issued reports saying supplies remained plentiful despite the rise in purchases.

Shoppers seemed worried but were not yet panicked. A woman with two bags of vegetables, eggs and frozen dumplings said she bought a little more than usual. One man said he is not worried but is just cautious as he has a 2-year-old daughter.

Beijing health authorities said 29 new cases had been identified within 24 hours to 1 p.m. 16 Monday, raising the total to 70 since Friday.

The city has ordered mass tests across the sprawling Chaoyang district, where 46 of the cases have been found. The 3.5 million residents of Chaoyang, as well as people working in the district, are to be tested on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

CHINA HEALTH VIRUS
A health worker takes inoculation samples from a child to be tested for COVID-19 at an inoculation site along a street in Beijing, China, on April 25, 2022.

NOEL CELIS / AFP / Getty


Test sites were set up overnight and early in the morning in residential complexes and office buildings around the district.

“I think Beijing should be fine,” Gao Haiyang said as he waited in line for a COVID-19 test. “Based on the previous response from my community, if there is an emergency, I think supply can be guaranteed. In addition, there was experience we learned from other cities. I think we can make good preparations.”

Shanghai has tensed under a strict lockdown that has driven residents to band together to get food delivered through group purchases. Goods are backed up in the port of Shanghai, which has affected supplies and factory production and poses an obstacle to economic growth.

Beijing locked residents inside an area about 1 times 2 miles, and told them to work from home and stay in their residential areas. It was not a total shutdown – the shops continued to operate – but cinemas, karaoke bars and other entertainment venues were ordered closed.

Elsewhere, the city also closed some or all of the buildings in five residential complexes, adding to others that were locked down on Sunday.

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