- Beijing closes more gyms, malls and theaters to control the eruption
- There are dozens of new COVID cases in the capital
- China-Politburo meeting to increase policy support for the economy
BEIJING / SHANGHAI, April 29 (Reuters) – China’s capital Beijing closed more businesses and residential complexes on Friday as authorities stepped up contact restrictions to control the COVID-19 eruption, while dissatisfaction with a month-long lockout in Shanghai increased.
According to a Reuters witness and residents, people at the financial center have been protesting against the lockout and the difficulty in getting arrangements for knocking on pots and pans in the evening.
A video shared on social media, which could not immediately verify its authenticity, shows a woman warning people not to do so by loud-heiler, saying such gestures are encouraged by “outsiders”.
Sign up now for unlimited free access to Reuters.com
The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In Beijing, authorities were in a race against time to detect COVID cases and isolate those around them.
The sign on the outside of the apartment complex reads “Entry only. No exit.”
Polish resident Jonah Sklarska, 51, was sent in close contact with an isolated hotel, but he refused to share a single-bedroom room with his neighbor.
She was sent back home, where officers installed a front door alarm. Then she was invited back to the hotel and now she has her own room.
“I do not understand anything here,” the English language consultant said over the phone.
At a regular press conference on Friday, Chinese health officials did not respond to questions about whether Beijing would be locked up or under what circumstances could trigger such actions.
Strict restrictions in China have become more realistic in many parts of the world, where people have chosen to live with the virus.
Frequent signs of frustration among citizens will embarrass the ruling Communist Party of China, especially as President Xi Jinping is widely expected to take a third leadership post this fall.
Nomura estimates that 46 cities are currently completely or partially closed, affecting 343 million people. The Society General estimates that 80% of China’s economic output is in provinces that experience significant movement restrictions.
Officials said Friday that there are dozens of new COVID cases in Beijing, which is far from the number in Shanghai.
In Beijing’s Chaong district, the first to undergo mass testing this week, it began three rounds of screenings among its 3.5 million residents on Friday. A third round test is scheduled for Saturday in most other districts.
Many apartments were sealed off, preventing residents from leaving, and some spas, KTV lounges, gyms, cinemas and libraries and at least two shopping malls were closed Friday.
People who have recently visited places in areas declared “dangerous” by authorities have received text messages telling them to stay until they get their test results.
A text read, “Hello citizens! You recently visited the Beef Noodles & Fried Chicken Shop in the Guangxi Li Community.” “Please report to your premises or hotel immediately, stay tuned and wait for the announcement of the Nucleic Acid Test.”
“If you violate the above requirements and cause the spread of infection, you must accept legal responsibility.”
The April 30-May 4 Labor Day holiday is one of China’s busiest tourist seasons, and the travel industry is facing losses. read more
Companies reopening factories in Shanghai are booking hotel rooms for workers to stay in and turning vacant workshops into on-site isolation facilities as authorities insist on resuming work under Govt restrictions. read more
Many foreigners want to leave China’s most cosmopolitan city. read more
The Communist Party’s top decision-making body said on Friday that China would increase policy support for the economy in response to Govt and other headaches, raising shares. (.CSI 300), (.SSEC) From a recent two-year low. read more
Details were scarce, but markets reacted by sending the message away from a single focus on Govt, analysts say.
Shivei Zhang, chairman of Pinpoint Asset Management, which expects China’s economy to shrink in the second quarter, said: “The goal now is to balance explosions and economic growth.
“This suggests that the government may well modify the ‘zero tolerance’ policy to allow for some flexibility.”
Chinese officials say it is imperative to fight the Govt to save lives.
“The war against the COVID epidemic is a war, an anti-war, a people’s war,” said Liang Vannian, chairman of the COVID response committee at the National Health Council.
In Shanghai, authorities say more people have recently been gradually allowed to leave their homes. More than 12 million people, almost half of the population, are now in that category. read more
However, many are unable to leave their premises, while those with some places to go such as shops and other places are closed. One of the 52,000 police officers mobilized for Lockdowns is often told to return home.
Many residents have complained to the police that they are not flexible, which sometimes does not take into account health emergencies or other personal circumstances.
“Some private cops are … emotional or mechanical,” Xu King, head of the Municipal Public Safety Bureau, told reporters, acknowledging the “flaws.”
Sign up now for unlimited free access to Reuters.com
Reports from Martin Quinn Pollard, Eduardo Baptista, David Stanway, Brenda Coe, Tony Monroe, Roxanne Liu, Albie Zhang, Wang Yifan and the Beijing and Shanghai Bureau; Written by Marius Zaharia; Editing Lincoln Feast & Simon Cameron-Moore
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.