Beijing closes Universal Studios and bans restaurants in major escalation of Covid restrictions

The Labor Day holiday, which began on Saturday this year, has traditionally been a busy time for travel and mass gatherings in China. But there is little holiday spirit this year, as the Chinese government ramps up its zero Covid policy to tackle the country’s worst outbreak since Wuhan.

Many local governments have ordered residents not to leave their towns unless absolutely necessary and have imposed lengthy quarantine requirements for people coming from areas with Covid cases. have been reported. China’s transport ministry expects 100 million trips to be made during the holidays – a 62% dip since last year.
As a month-long lockdown continues in the financial hub of Shanghai, the Chinese capital from Beijing is struggling with a new outbreak of Omicron which put officials and residents on edge.

Many Beijing residents have scrambled to stock up on food and basic necessities over the past week, fearing a Shanghai-style lockdown could cause shortages.

Authorities in Beijing have already rolled out several rounds of mass testing, locked down dozens of residential communities and suspended schools, but restrictions were tightened further as the holiday began.

On Saturday, Beijing officials announced that catering services at restaurants would be suspended over the holiday season.

After the holidays, workers and students will be must present a negative Covid test – taken within the previous 48 hours – to return to work or school. And from May 5, residents must provide a negative Covid test – taken within the previous seven days – to enter all public places, including public transport. All residents are required to take a Covid test at least once a week, officials said.

On Sunday, Universal Beijing Resort said its Universal Studios theme park and CityWalk shopping area would be closed immediately after receiving “advice” from disease control authorities. He did not say when the park would reopen.

Beijing reported 59 local infections on Sunday, the highest number of daily cases in its current outbreak. The city has reported more than 300 cases since April 20.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, officials said on Sunday that community transmission in the city had been “effectively controlled”, after more than a month of strict lockdown that confined most of its 25 million people to their homes. .

Shanghai reported 7,872 local cases on Sunday, continuing a general downward trend since April 13, officials said at a news conference. The city also reported 38 new deaths, bringing the total death toll from the current outbreak to 422.

Over the past two weeks, the city has stepped up efforts to send all cases to government quarantine sites.

Many elderly citizens of Shanghai, some with serious underlying illnesses who cannot take care of themselves, have been transported to makeshift quarantine facilities, causing a public outcry. The government too metal fences installed outside apartment buildings where there had been recent cases to stop people leaving, sparking further anger.

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