Assault in Covid-19 infections in Beijing causes alarm, causes larger curbs, East Asian news and top stories

BEIJING – The Chinese capital of Beijing has risen alarmingly over the past two weeks as a spate of Covid-19 cases in the city has caused mass tests, closure of some residential areas, and mass rallies and performances. canceled.

About 18 locally transmitted cases, the first home infections in Beijing in more than 150 days, have been detected since December 14.

City officials announced that Beijing is in a state of emergency on Sunday (December 27), and have implemented increasing control over the past few days.

Separate outbreaks have also been reported in Dalian and Shenyang cities in northern Liaoning Province.

The increase in business has caused concern in parts of Beijing, especially in the Shunyi district where the Beijing Capital International Airport is located, that the virus could spread unnoticed in the capital.

The city on Tuesday completed mass tests of all residents of Shunyi district, with no new cases popping up. Nearly 1.3 million tests have been done in the district since last weekend.

Shunyi resident Tim Lin, who was examined in the mass test for the virus on Sunday, told The Straits Times that residents were “definitely scared”.

“I think people are pretty anxious because a lot of the elderly and young families live here,” the 37-year-old product designer said. He added that his company banned employees from coming to work unless they had a negative nucleic acid test result.

The municipal government announced that the situation in Beijing was ‘serious’ and said residents should be on their guard.

The latest spate of cases began almost two weeks ago when a Chinese citizen who arrived in Beijing from Hong Kong developed symptoms after being released from quarantine on 13 December.

Two cases linked to him were subsequently discovered.

Then starting last Wednesday, more cases were discovered, including seven on Tuesday, mostly in the Shunyi district in the city. So far no one was able to send in the perfect solution, which is not strange.

On Tuesday, 18 local broadcasts were recorded, according to data from the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

“The situation for the prevention and control of epidemics in Beijing is complicated. We need to be aware and put in place strict measures to prevent imported cases and a domestic rebound,” she said. Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing CDC, said Monday.

Authorities have been raising rising curbs since the weekend.

Cinemas, tourist attractions and parks were ordered to operate at 75 per cent capacity, and major performances and events were suspended. The primary and secondary school pupils gave up their winter holidays earlier in January.

About ten towns, communities and buildings in Shunyi were also sealed, authorities said at a news conference on Tuesday, and officials were told to stay in Beijing for the upcoming New Year and Chinese New Year holidays.

The state-run China Daily said in an editorial on Tuesday that there is no need to panic, but the city “appears to be in a more challenging and seemingly more dangerous situation, as the origins of many infections have yet to be traced”.

But Chinese epidemiological experts said the virus was unlikely to have spread widely in Beijing, as mass tests have so far not detected hidden cases.

Dr Jin Dong-Yan, a professor of virology at the University of Hong Kong, pointed out that the seven cases reported on Tuesday were all close contact with previous infections and had not been picked up by mass tests.

“The numbers are low. There is no sign that the virus is spreading widely,” Dr Jin said.

He pointed out that the language of the Beijing authorities on the recent spate of cases – using terms such as ’emergency mode’ and ‘war foot’ – was rather aimed at reintroducing a population tired of various social distance measures. put into operation.

“The real concern is the upcoming holiday season, because a lot of people will be traveling, and if an infected individual goes unnoticed, the risk of a super-distributor could happen. The government’s main task is to prevent that from happening,” he said. said.