COVID-hit Beijing increases curbs, fears Shanghai-like misery

The Chinese capital of Beijing closed some public places and checked on others on Thursday, as most of the city’s 22 million residents began more COVID-19 mass testing aimed at halting Shanghai-like lockdowns.

As Beijing launched three rounds of mass testing in several districts this week, it closed several residential complexes, office blocks and a university after infections were found. Some schools, entertainment venues and tourist places also remained closed.

Universal Studios in Beijing announced late Wednesday that visitors will be required to show a negative test result before entering a theme park starting Friday.

In Beijing, positive cases were found out of about 20 million samples received in the first round of mass testing, but the numbers remained low. The city on Thursday reported 50 new infections for April 27, up from 34 the day before.

Since April 22, more than 160 cases have been found in Beijing, more than half in the city’s most populous district, Chaoyang, known for its nightlife, malls and embassies.

Despite the low caseload, Beijing remained on edge.

Andrew Ward, 36, a Canadian who lives in one of the narrow streets of Beijing’s courtyard houses known as Hutong, was sent to a hotel quarantine on Thursday, even though he The test results were negative.

After officials said he was in close contact of a positive case, on Wednesday people in hazmat suits visited his home in Dongcheng district to test the ward for COVID.

“I’m a little annoyed, because I spent all that money and time cooking to be locked up at home,” said Ward, who works at an international school.

Dongcheng sealed some huts on Thursday after an infection was found.

Dongcheng, as well as Xicheng, two districts located in the center of Beijing city, also announced on Thursday that all their cinemas were closed.

Yanqing, a small district north of Beijing with a population of 350,000, said it would begin screening people who live and work in the area, even though it ordered mass testing this week. Not in the list of districts.

Pinggu, a district northeast of Beijing, also said it would test its population of 457,000 on Thursday and Saturday.

on the edge

When the outbreak began in Shanghai, new infections rose in a day before doubling in March 1-10 and then exceeding 700 by March 20.

By the end of March, Shanghai was reporting thousands of new infections, prompting a citywide lockdown and improving the lives of its 25 million residents.

So far, Beijing has largely allowed residents to go to work, even testing them, as long as no infection is found and a localized lockdown is required.

“We have to first stay in the hostel, then get back to work once the lockdown is lifted,” said a migrant worker named Wu, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday after a 10-hour train journey with a friend.

Both were supposed to start work in a canteen of Beijing Technological University, but did not do so after the lockdown in the residential campus adjacent to the university.

After a lengthy discussion with the staff at the university, he was asked to stay in a hostel currently under lockdown.

“We can cook in dormitories, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until the lockdown is lifted,” Wu said.

“I won’t ask for money if I don’t work.”

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