Health

Beijing locks down more people in China’s ‘zero-COVID’ fight

A woman wearing a face mask rides a bicycle past stores closed for COVID-19 control at a shopping mall in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Authorities in Beijing restricted more residents to their homes on Tuesday in a now 3-week-long effort to control a small but persistent COVID-19 outbreak in the Chinese capital.

Seven adjoining areas in the city’s Fengtai district were designated lockdown zones for at least one week, with people ordered to stay at home in an area covering about 4 by 5 kilometers (2.5 by 3 miles). The area is near a wholesale food market that was closed indefinitely on Saturday following the discovery of a cluster there.

The added restrictions come as Shanghai, China’s largest city, slowly starts to ease a citywide lockdown that has trapped most of its population for more than six weeks. The twin outbreaks in Beijing and Shanghai, the country’s most prominent cities, have focused attention on whether China can sustain its strict “zero-COVID” approach, as many other countries adapt to the fast-spreading omicron variant and ease restrictions.

China recorded 1,100 new cases on Monday, the National Health Commission said Tuesday. Of those, about 800 were in Shanghai and 52 were in Beijing. The daily number of new cases in Shanghai has declined steadily for more than two weeks, but authorities have been moved slowly to relax restrictions, frustrating residents.

  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    Workers put up caution tape to close off part of a green space along a waterway in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A resident walks her dog as delivery men wait to collect take out orders outside a restaurant on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    Women in face masks walk by people resting along a canal displaying pandemic measures notices to advise residents not to gather on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A child rubs his eyes after getting a COVID-19 test during a public testing on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A woman wearing a face mask waits for customers next to her vehicle loaded with packed meats for sale after authorities shuttered all restaurants, allowing only take away, outside a resident complex on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A woman and a child wearing face masks visit a canal displaying pandemic measures notices advising residents not to gather in numbers on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A woman wearing a face mask rides by a masked cleaner at a barricaded square to prevent residents from gathering due to pandemic measures on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A man and a boy fish along a waterway in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A man wearing a face mask looks at his smartphone near caution tape put up to close off part a green space along a waterway in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    People wearing face masks walk past a sign reading “Mask on and stay away from crowds” at a green space in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    People wearing face masks walk along a green space in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A man wearing a face mask fishes along a waterway in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A woman wearing a face mask jogs along a waterway in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    Workers put up caution tape to close off part of a green space along a waterway in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A woman and child wearing face masks walk past a sign reading “Mask on and stay away from crowds” at a green space in Beijing, Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    Residents wearing masks fish from a canal on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A resident gets a COVID test set up outside a shuttered commercial office complex on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    Residents wear mask as they past near a bus stop with Chinese painting on the wall on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
  • Beijing locks down more people in China's 'zero-COVID' fight
    A woman wearing a mask past by a shuttered restaurant that served barbecued mutton on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, in Beijing. Credit: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

In Beijing, the number of cases has held steady but new clusters have popped up in different parts of the city. City spokesperson Xu Hejian said that Beijing’s top priority is to screen people related to the cluster at the wholesale food market and isolate those who test positive. A second wholesale food market in Fengtai district was shut down Tuesday.

Most of Beijing is not locked down, but the streets are much quieter than usual with many shops closed and people working from home.


Beijing enforces lockdowns, expands COVID-19 mass testing


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Beijing locks down more people in China’s ‘zero-COVID’ fight (2022, May 17)
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