Beijing closes more sites as anger over Shanghai lockdown grows | News on the coronavirus pandemic

The Chinese capital Beijing closed more gyms, shopping malls, cinemas and apartment buildings on Friday as authorities ramped up contact tracing to contain a COVID-19 outbreak, while resentment over the draconian lockdown a month in Shanghai continued to grow.

In the financial hub, people fenced off in various neighborhoods protested the lockdown and difficulties in getting supplies by banging on pots and pans in the evening, according to a witness from the Reuters news agency and residents.

A video shared on social media, the authenticity of which could not immediately be verified, showed a woman warning people via a megaphone not to do so, saying such gestures were encouraged by “strangers “.

The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Beijing’s Chaoyang district, the first to undergo mass testing this week, began the last of three rounds of testing among its 3.5 million residents on Friday. Most other districts are due for their third round of testing on Saturday.

Chaoyang, which accounts for the largest share of cases in the capital’s current outbreak, has stepped up measures to curb transmissions by saying more neighborhoods are at risk.

People who had recently visited sites in these areas received text messages telling them to stay put until they got their test results.

“Hello citizens! You recently visited the Beef Noodle and Braised Chicken Shop in Guanghui Li Community,” reads one such text. “Please report to your resort or hotel immediately, please stay on place and wait for notification of nucleic acid testing.”

“If you violate the above requirements and the epidemic situation spreads, you will bear the legal responsibility.”

There is growing public discontent in Shanghai over the city’s lockdown [File: Hector Retamal/ AFP]

At testing sites, staff members wearing blue aprons urged people queuing to be tested to observe a 2-metre social distancing rule as megaphones reminded crowds to keep their masks on.

Additional buildings were sealed and some spas, KTV lounges, gymnasiums, cinemas and libraries, and at least two shopping centers closed on Friday, while couriers and food delivery staff were refused entry to some residential complexes .

Companies such as JD.com, an e-commerce platform, strive to supply residents well.

The head of one of its logistics centers on the outskirts of Beijing, Ming Tang, 32, said delivery volumes had increased by 65% ​​since the first cases emerged on April 22 and that 80% of parcels were food-related.

“The effort to deliver packages on time and the long working hours put a lot of pressure on our couriers,” he said.

Beijing reported 49 cases on April 28, down from 50 the day before.

Shanghai reported 52 new deaths from COVID-19 on April 28, up from 47 a day earlier, the local government said Friday. It recorded 9,545 new asymptomatic cases on April 28, up from 9,330 a day earlier, while symptomatic cases rose to 5,487 from 1,292.

While some delivery bottlenecks have been eased in the city, criticism of the government has continued to grow, particularly over government food supplies. Residents in some districts complain that their rations have been less frequent than in others, taking to social media to compare deliveries.

The lockdown is pushing dozens of foreign residents to flee mainland China’s most cosmopolitan city.

Although no official statistics are available for departures in recent weeks, pet movers, real estate agents and law firms say they are seeing a surge in queries, while online groups are trading advice on how to leave swelled.

“Until the lockdown, I really couldn’t feel the authoritarian government, because you’re more or less free to do what you want and I’ve never really lived oppressed,” said Jennifer Li, a foreigner who plans to send his family away. the city that has been their home for 11 years.

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