Beijing is in ‘race against time’ to contain Covid outbreak

Workers in protective suits outside a shopping complex in Beijing (Credit: REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

By Martin Quin Pollard and Ryan Woo

BEIJING (Reuters) – Authorities in the Chinese capital warned on Tuesday that an outbreak of Covid-19 in cases linked to a 24-hour bar was critical and that the city of 22 million was in a “race against time”. to control its most serious outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic. Millions of people are facing mandatory testing and thousands are under targeted lockdowns, just days after the city began lifting widespread restrictions that had lasted more than a month to combat a wider outbreak since late April.

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Officials over the weekend announced a “fierce” Covid outbreak linked to Heaven Supermarket Bar, which had just reopened after coronavirus restrictions were eased last week. The outbreak of at least 287 cases has raised new concerns about the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy. China is still reeling from a two-month lockdown in the city of Shanghai that has raised concerns about global supply chains.

“We must do everything, race against time,” He Lijian, a spokesman for the Beijing municipal government, told a news conference, referring to efforts to contain the outbreak.

Drinks and food consumption in most establishments in Beijing only resumed on June 6, after more than a month of measures such as take-out meals and work from home, as well as the closure of malls and sections of the transport system. Authorities avoided restoring the toughest of the earlier restrictions, but about 10,000 close contacts of the bar’s patrons were identified and its residential buildings were blocked.

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