China: new restrictions against Covid-19 come into force in Beijing

Looks like a ghost town. Millions of Beijingers are working from home following a new round of anti-Covid measures on Monday (May 9). Authorities have strictly limited access to non-essential services in the capital’s busiest and most populated district of Chaoyang, where some businesses are required to limit their normal workforce to 5%. As a result, the bustling commercial district of Sanlitun, in eastern Beijing, was deserted on Monday morning. The usually very busy Apple store was ordered to close within minutes of opening.

After Shanghai, the most populous city in the country confined since the beginning of April, Beijing has been subject to travel restrictions for a week and many public places (restaurants, cafes, sports halls, gymnasiums, etc.) are closed. The Chinese capital has about 22 million inhabitants. Beijing announced Monday 49 new cases of contamination for the last 24 hours. Pekingese fear widespread confinement.

Even if the contamination figures remain minimal on a global scale, the authorities strictly apply their zero Covid policy and confine entire cities as soon as a few cases appear. The total for China is barely over 5,000 officially since the start of the pandemic. The current epidemic outbreak has also killed more than 500 people in Shanghai, according to an official report, where some residents let their exasperation show after 40 days of confinement, sometimes marked by supply problems.

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