After the Corona outbreak: Beijing wants to test 3.5 million citizens

Status: 04/25/2022 09:27 am

After a major corona outbreak in the Chinese capital Beijing, the government launched large-scale mass tests. Panic buying by residents for fear of a lockdown left supermarket shelves empty.

After the discovery of numerous corona infections in Beijing, all 3.5 million inhabitants of the largest district, Chaoyang, have to be tested in three rounds every two days. Previously, 22 new infections were recorded in China’s capital on Sunday.

Initial observations indicated that the virus had been spreading “invisibly” in Beijing for a week, affecting “schools, tour groups and many families,” a government official said. Everything indicates that significantly more cases are likely to be discovered.

Hamster purchases for fear of lockdown

Whether a lockdown will be imposed on all or parts of Beijing depends on the spread of the virus, an expert from the national health department told the party-affiliated newspaper Global Times. “When the results of the tests in Chaoyang and other parts come out, it will give us a better picture of the overall epidemic situation in Beijing,” the senior official said. “Further measures will follow accordingly.” The fear of strict curfews in the 21 million metropolis caused hamster purchases and empty supermarket shelves.

The foreign embassies are located in the Chaoyang District and most foreigners live in Beijing. After individual blocks of flats with infections had already been sealed off at the weekend, the authorities today also imposed a lockdown on several neighborhoods in the Chaoyang District to the east. Residents are not allowed to leave the area for the time being. Restaurants and entertainment venues were also closed there.

Worst corona wave so far

With the quick action, the already particularly well-protected capital also wants to learn lessons from the corona outbreak in Shanghai and other provinces, it said. There was criticism of the initially slow approach in the eastern Chinese port city, where the situation has still not been under control for almost a month despite extensive curfews.

China is currently experiencing the worst corona wave since the outbreak of the pandemic. The country is pursuing a zero-Covid strategy, which will be put to the test with the arrival of the fast-spreading omicron variant.

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