Beijing tests millions and isolates thousands of COVID group in 24 hour tape

  • Outbreak leads to a return of mass testing and targeted lockdowns
  • The bloc is caused by “Al-Rida” – a state-backed newspaper
  • Shanghai exits weekend exams without new restrictions

BEIJING (Reuters) – Authorities in the Chinese capital raced on Monday to contain an outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has been traced to a bustling 24-hour bar known for cheap alcohol and large crowds, as millions face mandatory testing and thousands face targeted closures.

The outbreak of nearly 200 cases linked to the downtown Heaven supermarket bar, which has just reopened as restrictions eased in Beijing last week, highlights just how difficult it is for China to succeed in its “zero COVID” policy as much of the rest of the world chooses to learn to live. with the virus.

The resurgence of COVID infections is also raising new concerns about the outlook for the world’s second largest economy. China is only beginning to shake off a heavy blow from a two-month shutdown in Shanghai, the most populous city and commercial nerve center, which has also rolled around global supply chains.

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

Dining service in Beijing restaurants resumed on June 6 after more than a month in which the city of 22 million people imposed various COVID restrictions. Many malls, gyms and other venues have been closed, parts of the city’s public transportation system has been suspended, and millions have been urged to work from home.

“We have to test every day now. It’s a bit annoying, but necessary,” said a 21-year-old resident surnamed Kao, who runs a convenience store in Chaoyang, Beijing’s largest district, where the cluster of bars was discovered. “The virus situation has hurt our business quite a bit, it’s down about 20-30%.”

Chaoyang began a three-day mass testing campaign among its population of about 3.5 million on Monday. About 10,000 close contacts of bar-goers have been identified, their apartment buildings have been closed, and some planned school reopenings in the area have been postponed.

Queues formed around some test sites on Monday for more than 100 metres, according to Reuters witnesses. Large metal barriers have been installed around many of the apartment complexes, with people in hazmat suits spraying disinfectant nearby.

‘Without avail’

Last week, with dining restrictions lifted, Heaven Supermarket Bar, designed as a large self-service liquor store with chairs, sofas and tables, has regained popularity among the young, boisterous crowd hungry for socializing and partying during Beijing’s COVID restrictions.

The bar, where patrons scan the aisles to grab anything from local spirits to Belgian beer, is known among Beijing revelers for its tables lined with empty bottles, and customers sleeping on sofas after midnight.

With nearly 200 coronavirus cases linked to the pub since June 9, authorities have described the outbreak as “ferocious” and “explosive” — infected people live or work in 14 of the capital’s 16 counties.

Officials have not commented on the exact cause of the outbreak, nor have they explained why they have not yet brought back the level of restrictions seen last month.

The state-backed Beijing Evening News wrote in a commentary on Monday that the occasional mass was caused by loopholes and complacency in epidemic prevention.

“While normal life is being restored in the city, the fall of the supermarket cafe Heaven means that the hardship and efforts of countless people have been in vain,” the newspaper wrote.

She added that in the event of an outbreak, “the consequences could be dire and no one would want to see them.”

stuck in heaven

The Heaven supermarket bar, and other nearby businesses, including Paradise Massage & Spa, were under closure, as police bar and security staff blocked the entrances.

Authorities said a handful of customers and staff in the parlour will be temporarily locked up for screening.

In all, Beijing reported 51 cases on Sunday, compared to 65 the day before, in line with the national trend of declining cases. Read more

Shanghai, which completed mass testing for most of its 25 million residents at the weekend after lifting its lockdown and several restrictions at the start of the month, has reported 37 cases, up from 29.

As Beijing authorities grappled with new COVID cases in April, retail sales in the capital shrank 16% year-on-year, while property sales were down 25%. The data for May, due later this month, is also expected to be terrible.

Before the bars issues, there were high hopes for a rebound in June. Read more

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

Submitted a report by Martin Quinn Pollard, Ryan Wu, and the Beijing and Shanghai bureaus; Written by Marius Zaharia. Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Comment