Chinese capital Beijing begins Covid testing in business district

China’s capital, Beijing, reported a spike in Covid cases over the weekend and began mass testing in the Chaoyang business district on Monday. Within the district, one community pictured here has been classified as a high-risk area.

Jiang Qiming | China Information Service | Getty Images

BEIJING – Beijing, the Chinese capital, warned this weekend that Covid had spread undetected in the city for a week, and that more cases would be found with an investigation.

The main business district of Chaoyang started three days of mass testing Monday for anyone living or working in the region, which is home to many foreign embassies and businesses. The district had most of the 42 new Covid cases reported in Beijing since Friday.

Only specific apartment buildings have been locked down in Beijing. Schools mostly remain open, but the Chaoyang business district has ordered a cessation of all in-person group activities and training courses, including artistic and sports.

In a small part of the district, one metro stop south of the main business district, all restaurants, entertainment venues, indoor gyms and non-essential businesses must close from Monday morning. Local authorities added that people in the affected area should generally work from home and not go out unless necessary, according to state media.

The rise in cases in Beijing comes as mainland China faces its worst Covid outbreak since the start of 2020. The country is sticking to a strict zero-Covid policy of using rapid lockdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions to control virus outbreaks.

Most of Shanghai, China’s largest city, remains under an extended lockdown and has reported more than 100 new Covid-related deaths since Friday.

Nationally, Shanghai accounted for by far the highest number of Covid cases, reporting more than 2,400 cases with symptoms and more than 16,900 without on Sunday.

Beijing and Shanghai rank among the ten largest provincial regions in China by GDP, according to Wind Information. Data showed Beijing’s economy grew 4.8% in the first quarter, similar to the nationwide level, while Shanghai’s grew 3.1% as targeted lockdowns increased in March.

Service workers affected by the latest round of cases in Beijing’s Chaoyang business district can receive 100 yuan ($15.38) a day, for up to 21 days, city officials said.

Anecdotally, news of the spike in cases and mass testing has prompted locals to rush to stock up on food.

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