Beijing begins new round of tests to avoid lockdown

Beijing, May 7 (EFE).- Beijing on Saturday began a new round of tests in a bid to curb the coronavirus and avoid a lockdown that has confined millions of people to their homes for over a month in Shanghai.

Shanghai on Saturday reported 253 new positives and over 4,000 asymptomatic infections and postponed colleague admission exams by a month amid a strict lockdown.

Although the confinement has triggered innumerable complaints and videos of denunciations through social media despite the censorship, authorities said it was not the time to let the guard down.

Unlike most of the world, China has maintained a zero-tolerance policy towards the virus for two years to protect the mostly unvaccinated elderly population or avoid a hypothetical health collapse.

The authorities face an Omicron-driven record wave of infections with the usual strict confinement, borders closures and massive tests in dozens of cities, including Guangzhou.

Beijing, which today recorded 45 new cases compared to 55 the previous day, begins on Saturday a new round of tests in the Chaoyang district, home to embassies to business skyscrapers and the most affected by the wave in the capital.

The Chinese capital has also closed more subway stations, advised teleworking and prohibited entry to restaurants, gyms, among other indoor spaces. Negative tests are mandatory to access the few establishments that remain open.

Residents are wary of the measures but hope they will at least be effective in avoiding a large-scale lockdown like Shanghai’s.

Experts and analysts consider that the measures are aimed at guaranteeing Xi Jinping’s reelection at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China, which will take place next fall.

In total, the number of active infections in China stands at 9,975, including 587 in serious condition, according to the Asian giant’s National Health Commission.

Since the pandemic broke out 219,296 people have been infected in the country and 5,166 have died, according to the commission. EFE

jco/ta /jot

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