Shanghai tightens COVID lockdown, Beijing continues to test According to Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People line up to get tested next to an employee wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) at a portable nucleic acid testing site outside a shopping mall, amid the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) broke out in Beijing, China May 6, 2022. REUT


By Engen Tham and Eduardo Baptista

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) -Taihai authorities tightened the city-wide COVID lockdown they imposed more than a month ago, lasting until the end of May, a challenge the capital Beijing China is trying to avoid by making mass testing a near-daily habit.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters that the 25 million-person mall is making a new impetus to bring case numbers outside of regions that are facing the most stringent restrictions on numbers. 0 in the second half of May.

These people said movement restrictions will generally remain in place for the month on fears of a recovery despite a drop in the number of cases. Authorities in several counties have issued notices asking residents to return to their residential areas after letting them out for a quick walk or shopping.

In a video widely shared on Chinese social media, police in hazmat suits argue with residents who were told they need to be quarantined after a neighbor tested positive.

“This is so we can thoroughly eliminate any positive cases,” one of the officers was heard. “Don’t ask me why, there’s no reason why. We have to follow the national guidelines.”

Reuters was unable to independently verify the video.

Shanghai authorities did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prolonged isolation and fear of being sent to quarantine centers, where showers and other basic conditions are sometimes lacking, have caused widespread, even interspersed, frustration.

Videos posted online last week showed dozens of workers at Apple’s Quanta (NASDAQ:) and Tesla (NASDAQ:) suppliers overwhelming hazmat-suited security guards and rushing through factory gates to get out of being stuck inside amid COVID rumors.


Strict COVID-19 restrictions in Beijing, Shanghai and dozens of other major cities across China are taking a toll on people’s psychological well-being, weigh on the world’s second-largest economy and disrupt segment of global supply chains and international trade.

These measures mark a stark contrast to most of the world, which is easing or removing COVID containment measures to live with the virus even as the infection spreads.

Beijing has closed gyms and entertainment venues, banned food and beverage services, and shut down bus routes and nearly 15% of its extensive subway system, while many people voluntarily avoid going out.

A Beijing resident, surnamed Ding, 50, said when he took a photo of an empty street leading to a closed subway station. “This is the first time in my years in Beijing that I see empty streets in the middle of summer. It’s magical.”

Businesses that remain open aren’t seeing many customers because people don’t want to do anything that could bring them close to infected people and force them into quarantine.

“North of us are malls and offices that have been cordoned off and their apps can mark them as close contacts if they come in,” said a barber surnamed Song, referring to Mobile surveillance software that all citizens must use.

“This outbreak has really unsettled people.”


Premier Li Keqiang in a phone conference with other top officials pledged to support “as many employers as possible”, especially among small and medium-sized companies, to keep people continued their work, state media reported.

China’s unemployment rate in March stood at 5.8%, the highest since May 2020, while the rate in 31 major cities hit a record 6.0%. April’s complete shutdown of Shanghai and stricter restrictions elsewhere since then have added to the adverse impact on the job market.

Despite the costs, the Chinese authorities remain steadfast in their commitment to eradicate the coronavirus. Last week, authorities threatened action against critics of the zero-COVID policy.

Regular testing is set to become a feature of everyday life in many cities, as officials hope it could help detect and isolate infections early enough to avoid store closures. series and limited movement.

On Sunday, residents lined up for another round of checks in Beijing’s Chaoyang, Fangshan and Fengtai districts and several other small areas. In a large Chaoyang complex, two people move around with loud speakers broadcasting a message over and over again reminding residents to check in.

Many residents, even without facing mass tests, must still have recent negative results to go to work or enter different locations.

Shanghai, which performed 63 million PCR tests and 126 million rapid antigen tests last week, will also continue to conduct daily screening, city officials said.

Shanghai and other cities are also building thousands of stationary PCR testing stations.

Daily COVID cases in Beijing are in the tens, much lower than Shanghai at the time of the outbreak, when the number of infections was in triple digits and growing.

Sunday’s data showed cases in Shanghai fell for a ninth day, but remained in the thousands, prompting party and city officials to warn against complacency.

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