Monday, June 27, 2022

COVID fight in Chinese capital leads to curbs, punishments for violations

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Beijing officials said Wednesday that the Chinese capital’s fight against COVID-19 was at a critical moment. 

Zhong Dongbo, a senior health official, told reporters that the city cannot quiet down entirely and need to keep its economy ticking.

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While the metropolis has stepped up quarantine efforts and is punishing workplaces that flout regulations – with more districts implementing work-from-home rules – authorities there have resisted Shanghai’s sweeping COVID lockdowns

Instead, residents have been asked to report themselves if they believe they could have visited the same places as people who were infected with the virus. 

A cleaner wearing a face mask walks by roll of barricades set up for COVID-19 tests outside a closed commercial office building as many office buildings remain under orders to work from home in Beijing, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Beijing has ordered rounds of mass testing – as have other Chinese cities – and limited travel, advising residents to avoid moving between city districts.

Leaders have also banned indoor dining and shuttered schools and tourist sites.

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Alternatively, in China’s largest city, the government is slowly easing pandemic measures.

On Wednesday, Shanghai closed the makeshift hospital at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition And Convention Center. 

A man wearing a face masks walks past a mural along a street in Beijing, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. 

A man wearing a face masks walks past a mural along a street in Beijing, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

This move comes after the city reopened four of its 20 subway lines over the weekend. 

While some residents have been allowed to shop for groceries, most restaurants and businesses are shuttered, with people working from home.

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Shanghai’s strict “zero-COVID” strategy has come under fire internationally, especially after reports of food and medicine shortages during stringent weeks-long quarantines. 

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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