BEIJING — China’s capital Beijing began testing millions of residents and shutting down residential and business districts Monday amid a new outbreak of COVID-19.
While less than 50 cases have been found in the city of more than 21 million since the outbreak surfaced Friday, authorities have implemented extreme measures to prevent a further spread of the virus.
Residents were staying home and stocking up on food as a safeguard against the possibility that they could be confined indoors, as has happened in multiple cities including the financial hub of Shanghai.
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Long lines formed in supermarkets in central Beijing. Shoppers snapped up rice, noodles, vegetables and other food items, while store workers hastily restocked some empty shelves. State media issued reports saying supplies remained plentiful in Beijing despite the buying surge.
Shoppers appeared concerned but not yet panicked. One woman, carrying two bags of vegetables, eggs and frozen dumplings, said she is buying a little more than usual. A man said he isn’t worried but is just being cautious since he has a 2-year-old daughter.
Beijing reported 19 new cases in the previous day, bringing the total to 47 from Friday to Sunday.
Shanghai, which has been locked down for more than two weeks, reported more than 19,000 new infections and 51 deaths in the latest 24-hour period, pushing its death toll from the ongoing outbreak to more than 100.
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The central city of Anyang, along with Dandong on the border with North Korea, also announced lockdowns as the omicron variant spreads across the vast country.
China’s borders remain largely closed as its hardline response and the pandemic’s economic impact continue to grow.