Beijing employs delivery workers from other regions amid Covid disruptions

Beijing, Dec 19 (EFE).- Beijing’s logistics sector has been forced to hire delivery workers from other parts of the country due to the ongoing Covid outbreak in the capital, which has resulted in many couriers falling sick and a rising number of undelivered parcels, local media reported on Monday.

This has especially been reflected in the orders made during the Double 12 online sale, held on Dec. 12, which has resulted in a growing backlog of deliveries.

Major logistics companies such as JD, Cainiao and SF have resorted to bringing in delivery executives from the rest of the country to try and help with the deliveries in Beijing.

These companies have employed additional couriers from a dozen regions, including Zhejiang (east), Shanghai, Jiangsu (east) and Heilongjiang (northeast), to help deliveries in the capital, prioritizing packages of medicine, masks and antigen tests.

Meituan, one of the most important home delivery businesses, said that between Dec. 15 and 16 it increased its delivery team by 215 percent to cater to the demand and compensate for the shortfall caused by the Covid outbreak.

In Beijing’s Tongzhou district, an employee at a package delivery center said that the average order volume had risen from 5,000 to 10,000 in just a couple of days, doubling the riders’ work.

The Chinese government recently announced changes in its strict “zero covid” policy, allowing asymptomatic patients or those with light symptoms to isolate at home instead of quarantine centers, and said that it was no longer necessary to carry a negative Covid test report to enter most places and establishments.

The easing of measures has resulted in a rapid surge in the number of cases, although this is not reflected in the official figures that continue to depend on PCR test results, whose number have gone down compared to previous months.

The virus’ spread has increased pressure on the Chinese health system, with local media outlets reporting fever patients crowding in the waiting areas of hospitals in some cities.

The zero Covid policy, in place since 2020, was modified as people’s discontent with the restrictions resulted in protests across the country after 10 people allegedly died due to pandemic-related confinement at an apartment building which caught fire in Urumqui (northeast). Protesters had used slogans such as “I don’t want PCR, I want to eat,” or “return my freedom.”

The government claims that the policy – which enforced mandatory isolation of all the infected people and their close contacts, strict border controls, partial or full lockdowns and constant PCR testing of the urban population – has saved millions of lives


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