Beijing shuts parks, museums as China’s COVID cases rise

BEIJING, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Beijing closed parks, shopping malls and museums on Tuesday, while more Chinese cities resumed mass testing for COVID-19, as China deepened concerns over its economy and dampened hopes for a quick recovery. – the reopening of the coronavirus.

China reported 28,127 new local cases nationwide on Monday, the highest daily peak since April, with infections in the southern city of Guangzhou and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing accounting for nearly half of the total.

In the capital, Beijing, crime is hitting new highs every day, prompting the city’s government to call on more residents to stay.

Health officials reported two new deaths from COVID-19, compared with three over the weekend, the first in China since May.

The latest wave is testing recent revisions to China’s zero-covid-19 policy, which requires authorities to be more targeted in their crackdowns and move away from widespread restrictions and tests that have stifled the economy and frustrated residents.

On Tuesday, the municipality of Tianjin, near Beijing, became the latest to order citywide testing, following a similar announcement by Shijiazhuang on Sunday.

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Even after the established guidelines, China remains a global benchmark with its strict COVID restrictions, including the nearly three-year closure of its borders since the pandemic.

Tightening measures in Beijing and other cities fueled investor fears about the economy, sending global stocks and oil prices lower overnight, even as China tries to avoid urban disruptions like the one that hit Shanghai this year.

Nomura analysts said on Tuesday that their domestic index represented about 19.9% ​​of China’s total gross domestic product in regions subject to some sort of blockade or restrictions, down from 15.6% last Monday and not far from the index’s peak in April. During the Shanghai lockdown.


China’s capital warned on Monday that it was facing the worst test of the COVID-19 pandemic and was tightening rules on entry into the city, requiring people from elsewhere in China to undergo three days of COVID testing before being allowed to leave their residences.

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Many residents of Beijing have seen their buildings closed, but these restrictions usually last only a few days.

Some city dwellers said the delay was due to the large amount of food.

Many museums were closed, and the Happy Valley Amusement Park and the city’s sprawling Chaoyang Park, popular with joggers and picnickers, said they would close on Tuesday due to the outbreak. Beijing reported 1,438 new local cases, up from 962 on Sunday.

The central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, issued a statement on Tuesday urging its residents to travel only between home and work.

Vice Premier Sun Chunglan, who leads China’s zero-COVID policy, visited Chongqing on Monday to urge authorities there to take measures and control the outbreak, the municipality said.


Investors had hoped that China’s targeted implementation of zero-Covid restrictions would herald significant easing, but many analysts were wary of being too firm.

Many businesses, especially customer-facing businesses, fear that they will not be able to survive next year as customers continue to hold tight to their cash.

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China argues that the zero-covid policy signed by President Xi Jinping will save lives and is necessary to prevent the health system from collapsing.

Many experts warn that a full breakthrough in a country where the risk of the disease remains will require a major vaccination effort and a change in messaging. Authorities said they plan to build hospital capacity and fever clinics to test patients and are working on a vaccination initiative.

“The real picture may not be so rosy,” Nomura analysts wrote, adding that they expected China’s reopening to accelerate after March next year, once the top management shake-up is complete.

“Reopening could be a back-and-forth, as policymakers may back off after seeing a rapid increase in cases and social disruption. So local officials may be reluctant to be the first mover when trying to uncover Beijing’s true intentions,” Nomura wrote. .

Beijing and Shanghai reporting; Written by Brenda Goh; Edited by Tony Munro, Miral Fahmi and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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