COVID: Beijing warns of ‘explosive’ epidemic – Reuters

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SHANGHAI-

A government spokesman said on Saturday that China’s capital Beijing is experiencing an “explosive” COVID-19 outbreak linked to a bar, while the mall Shanghai is conducting mass testing to contain the rise in hairdresser-related cases.

Warning, at least two districts have closed some entertainment venues in an area packed with nightlife, shops and embassies, following further tightening of COVID restrictions in Beijing since Thursday.

Although China’s infection rate is low by global standards, it maintains a zero-COVID policy, citing the need to protect the elderly and the healthcare system even as other countries struggle to live with the virus.

So far, the country of 1.4 billion people has recorded only 5,226 deaths from COVID-19.

Beijing officials said on Saturday that 61 new cases discovered in the city on Friday had either visited the Heaven Supermarket Bar or had links to it.

“The recent epidemic (…) is quite explosive and far-reaching in nature,” Beijing municipal government spokesman Xu Hejian said at a press briefing.

Health official Liu Xiaofeng said the capital had registered 46 new local cases as of 3 p.m. Saturday, with all people already in isolation or under observation.

The city did not announce new restrictions during the briefing, but later the Beijing Sports Administration said all off-campus and “offline” sports activities for youth would be canceled from Sunday.

So far, 115 bar-related cases and 6,158 close contacts have been reported, again putting the city of 22 million in worry.

Beijing only eased restrictions less than two weeks ago to tackle a major epidemic that began in April.

The sprawling Universal Beijing Resort, a theme park on the outskirts of the city, canceled its reopening plan on Friday. City officials said three of their employees visited the Heaven Supermarket bar. Read the full story

Many areas of the capital were quarantined and residents were told to stay at home.

CITY-WIDE TESTING

In Shanghai, authorities announced three new locally confirmed cases and one asymptomatic case detected outside of quarantine zones on Saturday, as nearly all of the city’s 25 million residents began a new round of COVID testing.

Authorities ordered PCR tests for all residents in 15 of Shanghai’s 16 districts over the weekend, and five districts prohibited residents from leaving their homes for the duration of the test. A city official said residents must do at least one PCR test per week until July 31.

China’s most populous city lifted a grueling two-month COVID-19 lockdown on June 1 alone. Read full article

“I’m a little worried because if there are any positive cases in the compound, it will be closed,” said Shanghai-based resident Shi Weiqi. Said. “Also, I will stock up on materials appropriately in case the previous situation happens again. »

Shanghai officials also said they had scolded and fired several district-level officials for misconduct at a hotel used to quarantine overseas arrivals, identified as one of the sources of the Shanghai surge of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

They also said they had warned or fired some executives at a state-owned company that owns the Red Rose beauty salon, where three cases were discovered among workers this week.

The salon staff said they didn’t follow the guidelines for performing daily PCR tests.

On Saturday, Shanghai reported seven new local symptomatic cases for the previous day, of which six were detected outside of quarantine zones.

The city also registered nine new local asymptomatic cases, down from six the previous day.

The National Health Commission said that mainland China reported a total of 210 new coronavirus cases for June 10, of which 79 were symptomatic and 131 were asymptomatic.

This reached 151 new cases the day before, including 45 symptomatic and 106 asymptomatic.

On Friday, mainland China confirmed 224,659 cases with symptoms.


(Report by Andrew Galbraith, Ryan Woo, Brenda Goh and Shanghai Newsroom; edited by Kim Coghill, David Holmes and Kevin Liffey)