LOCKED DOWN: Chinese Communist Party orders millions more to stay home

Philip Lenczycki, DCNF

Beijing tightened restrictions on millions of residents following a surge of COVID-19 cases, Chinese state-run media reported Thursday.

Seeking to quarantine Beijing’s eastern Chaoyang prefecture from the rest of China’s capital, the city’s municipal government suspended service for dozens of bus lines and subway stations around the afflicted district, People’s Daily reported. The local government also ordered Chaoyang’s 3.5 million inhabitants to work from home beginning on Thursday.

Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control announced the city’s current outbreak, which began on April 22, has resulted in 505 confirmed COVID-19 cases, People’s Daily reported. This tally already surpasses the total number of cases stemming from the city’s 2020 Xinfadi wet market outbreak.

While Chaoyang is reportedly the epicenter of the current outbreak and is responsible for over 200 cases, Fangshan, a district in Beijing’s southwest quadrant, has confirmed 130 cases, the report notes.

Beijing’s decision to tighten restrictions has residents fearing a Shanghai-style city wide lockdown, according to The New York Times.

“What happened in Shanghai was a cautionary tale,” Yang Hui, a Beijing resident, told The New York Times. “I’m so tired of Covid and the so-called ‘zero COVID’ strategy.”

Shanghai, China’s financial hub and home to nearly 29 million inhabitants, implemented a city-wide lockdown on April 5 in compliance with Xi Jinping’s signature zero-COVID policy. The city’s lockdown resulted in food shortages and a lack of basic necessities, leading to protestspublic outrage and looting in some cases.

Despite Xi’s zero-COVID policy, Shanghai has still reported over 500,000 Omicron cases since March, according to the South China Morning Post.

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