‘I feel very uncomfortable’ – residents frustrated as Beijing enforces Covid-19 lockdown

  • China continues to fight its Covid-19 outbreak.
  • Beijing remained largely closed as movement restrictions were enforced.
  • Occasional protests against food shortages broke out.

Millions of people in Beijing stayed home Monday as China’s capital tries to stave off a Covid-19 outbreak with insidious restrictions on movement.

Residents of Beijing fear they may soon find themselves caught up in the same draconian measures that have captured most of Shanghai’s 25 million people at home for weeks.

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Officials who have said the eastern powerhouse city is winning its battle against China’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began.

Yet the Shanghai lockdown has intensified, causing outrage and rare protests in the last great economy still glued to a zero-covid policy.

In Beijing, subway stations and offices were empty during rush hour Monday morning across Chaoyang – the city’s most populous district – after officials stepped up an order for work from home Sunday over rising Covid-19 cases.

Hundreds of infections

Unnecessary businesses in the district, home to 3.5 million people, were closed, and even the Apple store in the popular Sanlitun shopping area was ordered to close after a brief opening in the morning.

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Wang, a middle-aged cleaning assistant waiting outside a restaurant for her shift to start, told AFP:

I feel very uncomfortable seeing so few people around me.

Beijing has reported hundreds of infections in recent weeks, with 49 new Covid-19 infections confirmed Monday, a relatively small number but enough to push restrictions in the country’s political heart.

Shanghai has borne the bulk of the country’s Omicron rise with more than 500 deaths, according to official figures.

The financial hub has ordered a several-day curfew for residents of several neighborhoods, according to reports seen by AFP, even though the daily number of cases has dropped to the low thousands.

Anger has simmered online over the perceived bouldering of virus control, mixed messages and harshness from Shanghai officials, including sweeping people with negative Covid-19 tests in state quarantine and leaving entire neighborhoods short of food.

The frustration has also taken to the streets – in a country where protests are rare and quickly exposed by the authorities.

A medical staff member collects a swab sample from a resident for a Covid-19 nucleic acid test in Beijing, China.

Authorities have confirmed the veracity of a video that cracked on social media over the weekend, showing residents of Zhuanqiao Town colliding with health officials fitting health officials due to food shortages.

“Police are taking action as soon as possible to persuade spectators to disperse and calm the situation,” a statement from Zhuanqiao Town’s Covid Response Team said on Sunday.

“According to an on-site investigation, the troublemakers had adequate supplies at home.”

Residents in neighborhoods affected by new curfews – including some areas previously declared lower risk – have been ordered not to step out of their apartments other than PCR tests for as long as a week and banned from booking ” non-essential “supplies, according to the notices.

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‘I feel very uncomfortable’ – residents frustrated as Beijing enforces Covid-19 lockdown

Source link ‘I feel very uncomfortable’ – residents frustrated as Beijing enforces Covid-19 lockdown

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