China’s capital, Beijing, tightened restrictions on the coronavirus on Sunday as it faced an outbreak, with Shanghai letting some of its 25 million people go outside for light and air after reporting zero outbreaks for a second day. quarantine areas.
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The Shanghai earthquake wave, which began in March, was the worst in China since the first months of the 2020 pandemic. Hundreds of thousands have been infected and the city has banned residents from leaving their homes, causing widespread public outrage.
The outbreak in China’s most populous city and the risk of its spread in Beijing are testing the government’s approach to zero cases, in a year when Xi Jinping is expected to secure an unprecedented third term as President.
Beijing, with dozens of daily infections in a wave that is now on its 10th day, has not entered a lockdown. More than 300 locally transmitted cases have been reported since April 22.
However, on Sunday, the capital increased the rules of social distancing and started a new round of mass tests in its most populous and most affected area.
Last week, the city of 22 million carried out mass tests in most of its 16 neighborhoods, suspended all entertainment venues and banned food from restaurants.
Beijing’s huge Universal Studios theme park closed on Sunday, and in the bustling Badaling section of the Great Wall, visitors were asked to present evidence of a negative COVID test before entering.
The Chaoyang area, which accounts for the largest share of infections in the Beijing epidemic, has launched an additional round of mass tests, with public health workers knocking on doors to remind residents to get tested.
The lockdown across Shanghai city since early April has disrupted the daily lives of its residents, sparking food concerns and concerns that they will be taken to numerous quarantine centers if they catch the virus.
Extreme measures taken to seal residential complexes, including fencing off building entrances, have sparked outrage.
Some residents have turned to social media to vent their frustration, some knocking pots and pans out of their windows and others clashing with public health workers.
The song “Do you hear the world singing”? from the musical “The Poor” has become a popular protest anthem. On Saturday, an online video of a Chinese orchestra playing the song, with musicians performing from their respective homes, went viral with nearly 19,000 notifications before it was blocked.
While much of the city remains in a lockdown, Shanghai officials confidently said on Sunday that restrictions in some areas would be eased as the city reduced the risk of COVID transmission at the community level, with the exception of cases in quarantine centers.