China’s capital Beijing is experiencing an “explosive” COVID-19 outbreak connected to a bar, a government spokesman said on Saturday (Jun 11), as the commercial hub, Shanghai, conducted mass testing to contain a jump in cases tied to a hair salon.
The warning followed a new tightening of COVID-19 curbs in Beijing since Thursday, with at least two districts closing some entertainment venues after a flare-up in a neighbourhood full of nightlife, shopping and embassies.
While China’s infection rate is low by global standards, it maintains a zero-COVID policy, citing the need to protect the elderly and the medical system, even as other countries try to live with the virus.
So far, the country of 1.4 billion has seen just 5,226 deaths from COVID-19.
Beijing authorities said on Saturday that all 61 new cases uncovered in the city on Friday had either visited the Heaven Supermarket Bar or had links to it.
“The recent outbreak … is strongly explosive in nature and widespread in scope,” Xu Hejian, spokesperson of the Beijing municipal government, told a news briefing.
The capital had registered 46 new local cases on Saturday as of 3pm, all people already in isolation or under observation, health official Liu Xiaofeng said.
The city did not announce new curbs at the briefing, but later the Beijing sports administration said all off-campus and “offline” sports activities for teens would be cancelled from Sunday.
So far, 115 cases and 6,158 close contacts linked to the bar have been reported, throwing the city of 22 million back into a state of anxiety.
Beijing only relaxed curbs less than two weeks ago that had been imposed to fight a major outbreak that began in April.
The sprawling Universal Beijing Resort – a theme park on the city’s outskirts – on Friday rescinded a plan to reopen. City authorities said three of its workers had visited the Heaven Supermarket bar.
Many neighbourhoods in the capital have been put under lockdown, with residents told to stay home.
The capital reported 46 new local COVID-19 cases on Saturday as of 3pm local time, health official Liu Xiaofeng told the same briefing. All cases were discovered among individuals already in isolation or under observation, Liu said. The city did not announce new curbs at the briefing.
So far a total of 115 cases and 6,158 close contacts linked to the bar have been reported, throwing the city of 22 million back into a state of anxiety.
Less than two weeks ago, Beijing had relaxed COVID-19 curbs imposed to fight a major outbreak that began in April.
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