China’s capital Beijing begins Covid testing in business district

China’s capital Beijing reported an increase in Covid cases over the weekend and began mass testing on Monday in the Chaoyang business district. Within the district, a community pictured here was classified as a high-risk area.

Jiang Qiming | China News Service | Getty Images

BEIJING – China’s capital Beijing warned over the weekend that Covid had spread undetected in the city for a week and that more cases would be found with investigation.

Chaoyang’s main business district began a three-day mass test on Monday for anyone living or working in the region, which is home to many embassies and foreign companies. The district accounted for most of the 42 new Covid cases reported in Beijing since Friday.

Only specific apartment buildings have been locked down in Beijing. Schools remain mostly open, but Chaoyang’s business district ordered a halt to all personal group activities and training courses, including arts and sports.

The increased incidence in Beijing comes as the Chinese mainland faces its worst Covid outbreak since early 2020. The country has adhered to a strict zero-Covid policy of using rapid shutdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions to control outbreaks of the virus.

Most of Shanghai, China’s largest city, remains under prolonged lockdown and has reported more than 100 new Covid-related deaths since Friday.

Nationwide, Shanghai accounted for the vast majority of Covid cases and reported for Sunday more than 2,400 cases with symptoms and more than 16,900 without.

Beijing and Shanghai are among China’s ten largest provincial-level regions based on GDP, according to Wind Information. The data showed that Beijing’s economy grew by 4.8% in the first quarter, the same as at the national level, while Shanghai rose by 3.1% as targeted closures rose in March.

Service industry workers affected by the latest round of cases in Beijing’s Chaoyang business district could receive 100 yuan ($ 15.38) a day for a maximum of 21 days, municipal authorities said.

Anecdotally, the news of the increase in the number of cases and mass tests caused the locals to rush to supply themselves with food.

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