Beijing Begins Mass Testing Amid Fears of Lockdown

One area of capital is restricted as cases rise
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 25, 2022 7:43 AM CDT
Beijing Begins Mass Testing Amid Fears of Lockdown
Workers line up for mass COVID testing in Chaoyang district on Monday in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(Newser) – China's capital, Beijing, began mass testing of more than 3 million people on Monday and restricted residents in one part of the city to their compounds, sparking worries of a wider Shanghai-style lockdown. While only 70 cases have been found so far in the city of more than 21 million since a new outbreak surfaced Friday, authorities have rolled out strict measures under China's “zero-COVID” approach to try to prevent a further spread of the virus, per the AP. Some residents worked from home and many stocked up on food as a safeguard against the possibility that they could be confined indoors, as has happened in multiple cities, including the financial hub of Shanghai.

Long lines formed in supermarkets in central Beijing. Shoppers snapped up rice, noodles, vegetables, and other food items, while store workers hastily restocked some empty shelves. State media issued reports saying supplies remained plentiful despite the buying surge, and shoppers appeared concerned but not yet panicked. Beijing health officials said 29 new cases had been identified in the 24 hours through 4pm Monday, raising the total to 70 since Friday.

Shanghai has buckled under a strict lockdown that has driven residents to band together to get food delivered through group buying. Goods have backed up at the port of Shanghai, affecting supplies and factory production and putting a crimp on economic growth. The city, which has been locked down for more than two weeks, reported more than 19,000 new infections and 51 deaths in the latest 24-hour period, pushing its announced death toll from the ongoing outbreak to 138.

(Read more Beijing stories.)

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