China’s capital warns of more Covid cases and begins massive testing in central business district


China’s capital Beijing reported a spike in Covid cases this weekend and began massive testing in the Chaoyang business district on Monday. Within the district, a community depicted here was classified as a high-risk area.

Jiang Qiming | China News Service | Getty Images

BEIJING — The Chinese capital Beijing warned this weekend that Covid had spread undetected in the city for a week and that more cases would be found with investigations.

Chaoyang’s main business district began Monday with three days of massive testing for everyone living or working in the region, which is home to many embassies and foreign companies. The district was responsible for most of the 42 new cases of Covid reported in Beijing since Friday.

Only specific apartment buildings have been locked in Beijing. Schools will remain largely open, but the Chaoyang business district has ordered the suspension of all in-person group activities and training, including arts and sports.

In a small area of ​​the neighborhood, one metro stop south of the main business district, all restaurants, entertainment venues, indoor gyms and non-essential businesses are expected to close Monday morning. Local authorities added that residents in the affected area should generally work from home and not go outside unless necessary, according to state media.

Beijing’s rise in cases comes as mainland China faces its worst Covid outbreak since early 2020. The country has maintained a strict zero-Covid policy by using rapid lockdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions to contain outbreaks. to get the virus under control.

Most of Shanghai, China’s largest city, remains under prolonged lockdown and has reported more than 100 new Covid-related deaths since Friday.

Nationally, Shanghai was by far responsible for the most Covid cases, with more than 2,400 cases with symptoms and more than 16,900 without as of Sunday.

According to Wind Information, Beijing and Shanghai are among the ten largest provinces at the provincial level by GDP. The data showed Beijing’s economy grew 4.8% in the first quarter, the same as the national level, while Shanghai’s grew 3.1% as targeted lockdowns increased in March.

Service workers affected by the latest round of cases in Beijing’s Chaoyang business district could receive 100 yuan ($15.38) per day, for up to 21 days, municipal authorities said.

Anecdotally, the news of the spike in cases and massive testing prompted locals to rush to stock up on food.

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