Millions of Beijingers lined up for a second round of COVID-19 tests on Sunday, with the Chinese capital seeking to trace and isolate each infection to contain a small but stubborn outbreak – and avoid a long-term Shanghai closure.
Strict COVID restrictions in Beijing, Shanghai and dozens of other major cities across China are taking a psychological toll on its people, weighing on the world’s second largest economy and disrupting international supply chains and international trade.
But the Chinese authorities are unwavering in their commitment to eradicate coronary heart disease, rather than living with COVID like many countries that are relaxing or canceling viral measures. Last week, authorities threatened action against critics of the zero-COVID policy.
Most of the 25 million people in the shopping mall in Shanghai, China’s most populous city, had been confined to their homes for more than a month. Many people complain about not being able to get food or access to emergency health care or other basic services.
Parts of Shanghai have seen their risk levels publicly lowered to the point that government regulations would theoretically allow them to leave their homes.
But while some were allowed to take short walks or groceries, most were still trapped behind the locked gates of their buildings, which caused widespread frustration and sometimes led to rare conflicts with law enforcement agencies.
Beijing was desperate to avoid such a drama and worked tirelessly to trace and isolate infections.
On Sunday, residents went to the second round of tests in Chaoyang, Fangshan and Fengtai provinces and small parts of others where infections had been diagnosed in the past two weeks.
This has become almost a daily routine in the capital. Even if they are not subject to mass testing, many still have to show recent negative results in order to get to work or go to various places.
Health variant “variant”
Beijing has closed gyms and nightclubs, banned restaurant services and closed a number of bus routes and nearly 15% of its extensive subway system.
The streets were less hectic than usual, as many did not want to risk any activity that could classify them as close contact with COVID patients and quarantine them.
Companies that were open suffered.
A barber who asked to be identified by his last name, Song, said his toilet in a high-quality shopping mall in Chaoyang had seen far fewer customers since it broke out.
“They are afraid of getting abnormal information in their health programs,” Song said, referring to the cell phone monitoring software that all residents must use. “North of us are shopping malls and offices that have been sealed and their programs could mark them as close contacts if they come.”
Song said his office will try to stay open as long as possible, but he was not sure how long.
Daily COVID cases in Beijing are in the tens, much lower than Shanghai at this point in its own outbreak, when infections were in the triple digits and rising.
The cases in Shanghai fell on the ninth day, showed Sunday data, but remained in the thousands.
Like other cities in China, Shanghai is building thousands of permanent PCR test sites. Since most residents are still indoors, this seems to suggest that it will be possible to return to normal life when people are back on the streets.
But authorities have warned that there is still a long way to go.
Top Chinese leaders met last week saying the nation would fight any comments or actions that distorted, questioned or had its COVID policy. Representatives of the party and city officials in Shanghai have also warned against complacency.
As the COVID epidemic in Beijing turns out to be stubborn, mass testing will become routine
Source link As the COVID epidemic in Beijing turns out to be stubborn, mass testing will become routine