Beijing shuts down many public transport routes, orders work from home in most populous district
Beijing has further tightened COVID curbs to cut off Covid-19 transmissions suspending many public transport routes and ordering residents in Beijing’s most populous Chaoyang district to start working from home on Thursday as the Labor Day holiday ends. City officials while rolling out stringent control measures termed the situation as grim even as the Chinese capital reported just 51 new cases on Wednesday. New case numbers in Beijing have hovered near 50 for many days as the city has seen 505 infections since April 22.
Those who must work in their offices are advised to travel by themselves. Online ride-hailing platforms have to reduce dispatching vehicles to areas under closed management. This came as the nation’s political heart suspended halted 158 bus routes on Wednesday and closed more than 60 subway stations in its drive to curb the spread of Covid-19 and avoid the fate of Shanghai, where millions have been under strict lockdown for more than a month with more than 580000 cases reported since March 1.
Dine-in at restaurants remains suspended, with libraries, and indoor sports and entertainment venues staying shut, and public parks limited to half capacity only. Schools have postponed a return to in-person classes due on Wednesday to May 11. Mass testing will continue next week as well which officials said helped in tracking the transmission chain as the city is preparing to host a landmark party congress for the ruling Communist Party in the second half of the year.
Beijing on Wednesday also adjusted its quarantine policy for close contacts of COVID-19 cases and international travelers entering the capital due to the features of the Omicron variant. Those who entered Beijing through the Beijing port have to undergo 10 days of centralized quarantine and seven days of home quarantine, and those who entered Beijing through other Chinese cities are allowed to enter the capital after 14 days of quarantine in the entry cities. People leaving the city must present a negative nucleic acid test for a green health code before boarding a plane or train.
Meanwhile Shanghai has been reporting a decline in daily new cases in both quarantine zones and the low-risk unguarded zones, however, there are no signs from officials that the citywide lockdown will end any time soon. Residents have become increasingly frustrated and anxious after over a month under lockdown.
Anshuman Mishra’s Report