Beijing Covid tests: Beijing to test 20 million for Covid as lockdown nerves grow | World News

BEIJING: Beijing residents joined the growing lines of people waiting to be tested for Covid-19 on Tuesday after the Chinese capital ramped up overnight plans to mass test 20 million people and fuel concerns about an imminent closure.
Amid comparisons to Shanghai, where more than 1,000 cases were reported in March before widespread restrictions were finally imposed on 26 million people, many in Beijing flocked to supermarkets to stock up on food and supplies fearing lockdowns. sudden located.
Authorities began closing some gyms, theaters and tourist sites on Tuesday, a day after Beijing began testing residents of its most populous district, Chaoyang. Late Monday, Beijing announced that it would conduct tests in 10 more districts and an economic development zone by Saturday.
The Chinese capital reported 33 new locally transmitted cases for April 25, the city’s health authority said on Tuesday, of which 32 were symptomatic and one asymptomatic. That was slightly higher than the 19 community infections reported a day earlier.
Beijing’s decision to test most of its 22 million total population days after detecting a small number of infections contrasts with Shanghai, which waited about a month after its outbreak began before moving on to mass testing in the entire city in early April.
Three rounds of PCR tests will be carried out from Tuesday to Saturday in districts including Haidian, where Liu Wentao, a cook coming out of his bedroom to get tested, told Reuters he was worried about how quickly the virus was spreading. , although he was confident that Beijing could avoid a blockade like this. Carry off.
“Beijing is the capital, the virus controls are stronger than other places, I don’t think it’s like Shanghai where it suddenly increases to thousands of cases,” Liu said.
While Beijing’s latest Covid outbreak is modest by world standards, a Shanghai-style lockdown of the Chinese capital would further dim the country’s economic prospects.
Shanghai’s economy slowed in the first quarter, hit by rare declines in industrial production and local consumption due to the city’s Covid outbreak. In March alone, retail sales plummeted 18.9%.
“Clearly, Shanghai has taught a lesson, and that is that if you go down this line of total lockdowns, it’s not only incredibly costly, it’s also economically destructive and stresses the social fabric,” Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union. Chamber of Commerce, told Reuters.
Asian markets suffered their worst day in more than a month on Monday on fears that Beijing was about to enter such a lockdown. Chinese stocks plunged to a two-year low.

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