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Beijing Wants Millions To Work From Home Amid COVID Threat

Beijing has already restricted public transportation, ordered the closure of certain shopping malls and other establishments, and sealed buildings where fresh cases had been discovered.

BEIJING: After two months of lockdowns, Beijing’s authorities extended work-from-home advice for many of the city’s 22 million citizens in order to combat a chronic epidemic of COVID-19.

For the first time in the outbreak’s month-long history, which has seen dozens of new illnesses every single day, the Chinese capital said on Monday that 99 new cases had been discovered on May 22.

The number of daily cases in Shanghai fell to less than 600 on May 22, with no cases outside of confined regions.

Fewer than 5% of Chinese cities are reporting COVID infections, down from 25% in late March, according to analysts at Gavekal Dragonomics, a firm that studies China’s economy.

However, there is a high level of monitoring and anxiety in both Shanghai and Beijing.

Even though no new locations in Beijing were announced to be restricted, people in five of the city’s 16 wards were warned to stay home and avoid gatherings

Within 48 hours of doing a PCR test, those who must go to work must have a negative result and must not vary from their home-to-work route.

For the sake of “epidemic prevention and control,” Beijing’s Tongzhou district put out a WeChat message late Sunday encouraging people who work in five other districts to stay home this week.

“Victory is within reach with only one more stride ahead. It would be a waste of time and money to take a single step backwards.”

‘Majorly Damaged’

Beijing has already restricted public transportation, ordered the closure of certain shopping malls and other establishments, and sealed buildings where fresh cases had been discovered.

According to inhabitants in one major residential compound that was not placed under an isolation order, shelves had been put up at the entryway awaiting deliveries, fueling concerns that tighter limitations on mobility were being planned.

China’s economic restrictions have left a trail of economic harm and disruption in global supply networks and international commerce in the wake of the restrictions.

It has been difficult to combat the extremely contagious Omicron virus type, which was initially found in Wuhan at the end of 2019, even with stringent precautions that contrast sharply with the return of normalcy everywhere in the globe.

“We’ve been struck hard,” one convenience store owner in Beijing, going by the name of Sun, stated after his business was only permitted to open during the daytime instead of its customary 24/7 hours.

The company claims that it was able to remain open throughout the Wuhan epidemic.

Residents in Shanghai, where more than 250 bus routes and several metro lines were restored on Sunday, were urged not to leave their homes as many municipalities and districts planned further mass testing in the coming days.

People in the commercial centre of 25 million have been permitted to leave their houses for short periods of time during the last week, but the city expects to maintain most restrictions in place this month until breaking its lockdown on June 1.

BRAND-NEW CURBS

As a result, residents in many Shanghai neighbourhoods say they’ve been informed of new diseases that necessitate further restrictions on movement.

After being permitted to travel around his property in the past, a resident of Hongkou district, where no new community-level cases have been registered since May 7, claims he was warned this week not to leave his flat.

Hongkou was one of six districts that recently declared a “consolidation” of their efforts by tightening some of their restrictions.

However, this sparked fears that the virus was on the verge of making a reappearance.

China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform saw the following as the most popular comment: “This can’t be accurate, zero COVID cases at the community level? There was a fresh instance in our compound yesterday”.

Any examples of communal transmission would be disclosed through official means, according to Shanghai’s administration, when asked for comment on the recent cases.

Aimen Bukhari
Written By

Works at The Truth International Magazine. My area of interest includes international relations, peace & conflict studies, qualitative & quantitative research in social sciences, and world politics. Reach@ aimen.bukhari@tti.org.pk

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