Beijing Begins Mass COVID-19 Testing Drive

Beijing has begun mass COVID-19 testing most of its 21 million residents amid fears the Chinese capital will be placed under a strict lockdown similar to the one imposed on Shanghai.

Authorities expanded testing across 11 districts Tuesday after launching the mass testing drive in Beijing’s most populous district of Chaoyang on Monday.

Beijing went on alert last week after 10 middle school students tested positive for COVID-19, sparking widespread panic buying across Beijing Sunday in anticipation of a possible citywide lockdown. Long queues were seen in supermarkets in the city center, as shoppers snapped up rice, noodles, vegetables and other produce, while store workers hastily restocked some empty shelves.

Officials have urged residents in some neighborhoods to work from home, and have started closing some venues such as gyms and theaters.

So far, only 70 positive cases have been reported since last week, including 33 new cases on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Shanghai continues to struggle to contain an outbreak of new COVID-19 cases largely driven by the highly contagious omicron variant, with many of its 26 million residents still under orders to remain indoors. The lockdown has led to angry complaints of a lack of fresh food and medicine throughout China’s biggest city.

Shanghai reported well over 10,000 new coronavirus infections and at least 51 deaths on Tuesday.

Source: Voice of America

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