Shopping malls suspended, work-from-home order imposed… Beijing further escalates restrictions as COVID situation remains uncertain

A doctor takes a swab sample from a man for a nucleic acid test at Xidan area in Beijing, capital of China, May 14, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Suspend shopping malls, indoor entertainment facilities and scenic spots, and impose work-from-home orders…Beijing has further stepped up its COVID-19 restrictions in five districts as the nationally transmitted COVID-19 situation remains uncertain .

Starting this weekend, residents of Haidian district will also work from home, adding to residents of four other districts – Chaoyang, Fengtai, Shunyi, Fangshan – until May 28, said Xu Hejian, door-to-door. word of the city government during Saturday’s press conference.

Cluster outbreaks and sporadic cases in communities have led to heightened uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing, Xu said, urging the city to reaffirm its faith in defeating the virus and reaching dynamic zero as soon as possible. as possible.

Meanwhile, people from other districts must also manage their presence in physical offices and move around the city. Those required to work in the office must present a negative nucleic acid test and follow point-to-point closed-loop management protocols, Xu said.

Except for restaurants offering delivery service, pharmacies, all indoor entertainment venues, gymnasiums, training institutes and shopping malls will be closed from Sunday. All classified panoramic points in the capital will be suspended and, at the same time, all parks should limit visits to 30% of their capacity.

The capital reported 63 new cases from 3 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Saturday, seven of which were detected in communities.

Photo shows a view of Chaoyang District in Beijing, capital of China, May 14, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Photo shows a view of Chaoyang District in Beijing, capital of China, May 14, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Explaining the reason why the city continues to report sporadic cases after rounds of mass testing, Xu said that the endemic Omicron has been effectively curbed and the city has successfully avoided large-scale outbreaks, but the The COVID-19 situation has been complicated by the highly contagious Omicron, with most patients showing only mild symptoms.

Officials also noted that some people and companies failed to take responsibility, triggering cluster outbreaks that heightened the risks of COVID-19 transmission, Xu said.

Of the 63 new cases reported on Saturday, 58 were linked to recent cluster outbreaks.

A resident waits for his takeout outside a restaurant in Beijing, capital of China, May 14, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

A resident waits for his takeout outside a restaurant in Beijing, capital of China, May 14, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

During Saturday’s press conference, the Beijing Public Security Bureau reported that four people from the Third Branch of the Eleventh Bureau of Chinese Railways were under criminal investigation by public security organs, suspected of interfering with the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

The suspects were charged with intentionally concealing the travel history of some workers and illegally changing their health code status, and traveling between different districts. Of those 25 people involved, 20 were confirmed as positive cases, causing at least 21 sites to be placed under restriction and more than 900 people to be quarantined.

world times

Maria D. Ervin