Beijing halts public transport amid Covid outbreak in China

With Beijing now facing the scourge of resurgent COVID-19 virus, the officials have decided to halt public transport in the capital city to avoid Shanghai’s fate where millions of residents have been under strict lockdown for over a month.

On Wednesday, the Chinese capital confirmed 51 new COVID-19 infections out of 20 million tests conducted, state media reported.

According to services providers, the city closed more than 40 subway stations, about 10 per cent of the total, and 158 bus routes on Wednesday, reported The South China Morning Post newspaper.

Most of the suspended stations and services had been operating in the Chaoyang district, where most infections were detected.

Beijing, which is the country’s political centre and houses 22 million people, has also closed schools and some businesses and residential buildings in high-risk areas, with many people reportedly stocking up, pre-empting a full lockdown just like Shanghai.

Meanwhile, Shanghai continued to witness a lower number of cases for the 13th consecutive day, with the city reporting 4,982 new infections cases on Wednesday from tests conducted in the previous 24 hours, bringing the number of confirmed cases to over 580,000 – in stark contrast to the just over 500 cases in Beijing.

Also read | Shanghai reports 20 new COVID-related deaths as residents are being sent out of city during crackdown

Shanghai’s lockdown has been severely criticised with people unable to access essential medical care and food, putting a dent in the country’s much-publicised “zero-Covid” strategy that the government credited for bringing the country out of the pandemic till recently.

Also read | Chinese vignettes | As COVID-19 reaches the capital, China is focused on reviving its economy

Despite falling case numbers in both of Shanghai’s quarantine zones and the low-risk unguarded zones, there are no signs from officials that the city’s lockdown will end any time soon.

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(With inputs from agencies)