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Beijing tightens the COVID net and issues harsh warnings. By Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo

Images: Reuters Berita 24 English - Beijing , China's COVID-affected capital, increased its grip on the virus, aiming for zero community...

Images: Reuters

Berita 24 English - Beijing, China's COVID-affected capital, increased its grip on the virus, aiming for zero community transmission by punishing workplaces that break laws or avoid limitations and urging people to regulate their own activities.

Since late April, the 22-million-strong city has been dealing with hundreds of new cases every day. While most have been detected in quarantine regions, a few have been found in the general public, demonstrating the Omicron variant's strong transmissibility and the problems it poses to the world's most strict pandemic containment efforts.

Despite the harm done to the world's second-largest economy and worldwide supply networks, the zero-COVID policy remains the government's focus, with Shanghai, China's corporate and commercial hub, and countless other significant cities hamstrung by partial lockdowns or other limits.

Beijing has increased quarantine measures and tightened workplace attendance regulations this week, with more districts issuing work-from-home rules or guidelines. Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who is in charge of China's COVID response, went on an inspection tour on Monday and advocated for more rigorous steps to break transmission chains.

According to a commentary published by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, some organizations have neglected COVID prevention rules and failed to examine the health profiles of their employees, allowing the disease to spread.

According to a statement published on Wednesday, "a strong wind can enter even via the tiniest of openings."

After a series of cases involving a private logistics company within its authority, some employees at the state-run Beijing postal service were either fired or given a stern warning, according to the local anti-corruption agency late Tuesday. According to the regulator, the company neglected to organize COVID tests for its personnel and failed to adhere to tight vaccination guidelines.

A few of employees at a Beijing branch of the state railway corporation disguised their trip history, according to a separate statement from the watchdog. They have been placed under police investigation.

Meanwhile, the municipality's housing development administration announced on Wednesday that some operations at a large real estate brokerage in Beijing had been suspended after one employee violated a district-wide mandate to work from home.


Throughout the week, Beijing health officials have been sending text messages to people's phones, urging them to keep an eye on COVID cases' travel records and to report themselves to local officials if their own activities coincide with those of the sick.

One Beijing resident, Shi, who lives in a building that recently came out of lockdown, said she tried to stay close to home because she was afraid of accidently entering regions with cases, tainting her COVID health credentials recorded by an app on her phone.

"I basically only wander around my residential compounds, go to the grocery, and don't dare to go too far," she explained.

Some people have left.

A man who only revealed his surname as Li said he was travelling to Los Angeles to be with his wife and children at Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday.

"It's not as awful as Shanghai, but the existing restrictions make living difficult enough," Li remarked.

A series of densely populated locations around the country were also initiating new rounds of mass testing, despite caseloads that were still small by worldwide standards.

After more than a dozen daily new infections appeared this week following two rounds of testing last weekend, the northern port city of Tianjin launched a new round of citywide testing on Wednesday. During the trial, Tianjin's 14 million residents must keep their movements primarily localized and adhere to a "very static" mode.

Xian, a 13-million-strong city in northwest China, moved up a standard mass testing program slated for Friday to Wednesday to lessen transmission risks after five local illnesses were discovered in the preceding ten days.

Shanghai is gently loosening COVID limits and enabling more of its 25 million residents to venture out as it works toward a June 1 release from a city-wide lockdown.

Shanghai closed the makeshift hospital at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition And Convention Center on Wednesday, after treating 25,000 infected people since late March.

Even yet, most shops, restaurants, and enterprises are closed, and a work-from-home policy is in effect.

Shanghai's highly awaited exit is expected to re-ignite the engines of its economy after over two months of lockdown.

Exports from Shanghai, the world's busiest container port, plunged 44% year on year last month, while imports fell 33%, according to the local statistics department, the steepest drops since at least 2011.

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