China reports 6,015 new local cases and 20 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 474.
Shanghai had 5,669 (94% of total cases), including 274 symptomatic cases.
To avoid the chaos seen in Shanghai, China’s capital is deploying an increasingly hardline playbook to contain its nascent Covid-19 outbreak, from repeat testing of most residents to restricting access to public places.
Beijing has suspended restaurant dining for the duration of the May Day holiday, which runs through Wednesday, has restricted access to places such as parks and monuments based on a negative Covid test, and has closed gyms.
Authorities have also locked down apartment buildings, forcing some residents to stay in their units and not be allowed out for groceries or exercise, and have ordered three more rounds of mass testing to contain an outbreak that added 62 new cases Monday, up from 41 on Sunday. In Shanghai, the number of new cases fell from 7,333 to 5,669.
The experience of the financial center serves as a cautionary tale for Beijing officials seeking to maintain China’s Covid Zero strategy, an approach that is increasingly isolating the country as the rest of the world opens up.
Beijing has never been closed down during a pandemic, and authorities are well aware of the message that would be sent if the city was forced to restrict people’s movements. To avoid the fate of Shanghai, which has been closed for more than a month, officials are instituting harsher measures earlier. Residents of Beijing’s main districts have already been subjected to multiple rounds of mass testing, with the goal of identifying unknown chains of transmission and cases before they become symptomatic.
The escalating curbs have left destinations that are normally teeming with people during the holidays largely deserted. Many people were turned away from parks over the weekend after failing to produce a negative Covid test despite being given only one day’s notice.
Lines of people being swabbed for Covid tests were the most common sight, as authorities mandated multiple rounds of testing for the majority of the capital’s 22 million residents. Since the latest outbreak began less than two weeks ago, the city has recorded approximately 400 cases.
A makeshift hospital that will be used to isolate mild Covid cases reopened on Sunday. China quarantines all infected people and their close contacts as part of a strategy pioneered during the first Covid wave in Wuhan to prevent transmission. While it was effective early in the pandemic, it has become increasingly difficult to implement with larger and more consistent virus waves driven by more contagious variants like omicron.
By May 2, 2.54 million people in Shanghai, out of a total population of about 25 million, were still under the strictest form of lockdown, officials said at a press conference on Tuesday. The city will continue to conduct mass testing using both PCR and rapid tests until May 7.
While the virus’s spread is slowing, authorities remain cautious. In hospitals, there are 488 patients in critical condition and 488 patients in severe condition.
After more than a month under COVID lockdown, some of Shanghai’s 25 million residents ventured out for short walks and grocery shopping on Tuesday, while China’s capital Beijing launched another round of mass testing to combat a nascent outbreak.
Social media posts showed Shanghai residents strolling through their suburbs or queuing at reopened supermarkets. In one photograph, two women were seen carrying a pole with four bulky bags of groceries on their shoulders. That was the result of a gradual loosening of restrictions in five of the city’s 16 districts, which house about a fifth of Shanghai’s population and where some residents were allowed to leave their housing compounds for the first time in weeks on Sunday.
The degree of restriction varied from one residential complex to the next. In many compounds, only one person from each household could leave at a time for up to three hours.
Despite the fact that most other countries have significantly eased or even completely lifted coronavirus restrictions, China has shown no sign of deviating from its “zero COVID” policy.
China has accepted a high economic cost and demanded massive personal sacrifices from millions of people who have been forced to live in isolation for an extended period of time.
Many of these people have experienced income loss, difficulty obtaining food, and significant delays in accessing emergency healthcare and other basic services. This has resulted in rare outbursts of rage in a crucial year for President Xi Jinping, who is widely expected to win a record-breaking third term this fall.
Chinese authorities claim that their COVID policies are intended to save as many lives as possible, citing the millions of deaths caused by COVID outside of China.
On May 2, authorities reported 20 new COVID deaths, all in Shanghai, bringing China’s total to 5,112 since the outbreak began. additional information
With dozens of new cases being reported every day in a second-week outbreak, Beijing is relying on mass testing to locate and isolate infections and avoid a Shanghai-style lockdown.
The 22-million-person capital tightened COVID restrictions during the five-day Labor Day holiday, which runs through Wednesday and is traditionally one of the busiest times for restaurants and tourism.
Following three previous rounds of screening last week, twelve of Beijing’s sixteen districts will conduct three more rounds of COVID tests between May 3 and 5.
Restaurants in the capital have been closed, and some apartment buildings have been evacuated. Most other venues were either closed or required visitors to take a negative PCR test.
The streets were quiet, with many residents fearing they would be quarantined if found in the vicinity of a COVID case.
Since the first infections in the capital emerged on April 22nd, Beijing’s new daily cases have been relatively consistent, with a total of 62 detected on May 2nd.
In Shanghai, the number of cases discovered outside quarantined areas increased from 58 to 73, reversing a two-day streak of none.
A zero-case period in such areas, allowing some movement outside residential compounds, is a critical requirement for a more significant relaxation of COVID curbs. To avoid the chaos seen in Shanghai, China’s capital is employing an increasingly hardline approach to containing its nascent Covid-19 outbreak, including repeat testing of most residents and restricting access to public places.