Beijing tests 20 million amid fears of a Shanghai-style lockdown

Beijing, Apr 26 (EFE).- Mass testing in 11 of Beijing’s 16 districts will be conducted after 22 new Covid-19 cases were detected in the city, authorities said Tuesday.

Over 3.7 million residents of the central Beijing’s Chaoyang district, the most populous in the city and the epicenter of the fresh outbreak, were PCR tested, district official Yang Beibei told reporters Tuesday.

The testing operation in Chaoyang used the 5:1 or 10:1 pooled sampling approach that combines samples of up to 10 people in one tube.

If a combination test is positive, those sampled are tested separately to isolate positive cases.

In Chaoyang, only one combined sample was positive.

The drive has been rolled out to a further 10 districts and a special development zone, with a population of 20 million, who will undergo three PCR tests between April 26-30, authorities said Tuesday evening.


According to official data, 92 cases have been detected since April 22, but, despite the modest numbers, the outbreak has stoked fears among the capital’s residents that a Shanghai-style lockdown could be on the horizon.

Residents of the eastern financial hub have been under a stiff lockdown since late March as fury among Shanghai residents over the conditions they have had to endure have surfaced on social media in a rare glimpse of discontent in China.

Reports that people have flocked to Beijing’s supermarkets and have started stocking up on products have also emerged.

“People who did not stockpile groceries in Shanghai have had a hard time in the lockdown due to a lack of supplies,” a Beijing resident warned on the Weibo social network.

City health official Xu Hejian said Monday that the supply of daily necessities in Beijing was sufficient and stable.

Ahead of International Workers Day on May 1, authorities have told Beijing residents to avoid leaving the city. People visiting the capital will need to provide a negative PCR to enter.


Since the Shanghai outbreak began on March 1, the port city has accrued 500,000 symptomatic Covid cases.

On Monday, authorities announced a drop in the number of new cases, which fell by 12.7% compared to Sunday. The number of symptomatic infections dropped by a third on the previous day, according to official data.

However, the death toll continues to climb with 52 fatalities reported Monday, bringing the total number of Covid deaths in the city since the start of the outbreak to 190.

The city’s 25 million residents will undergo another round of PCR testing as authorities aim to stem contagion “as quickly as possible.”

During a press conference held Monday, a Shanghai government spokesperson said that bottlenecks had cleared, imports from other provinces had improved, and fresh products were entering the city with more ease.

In recent days, fury among residents has spread after authorities started fencing off residential condos where positive cases had been detected to prevent locals from leaving their homes.

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