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CHINA Put BEIJING Under Lockdown Due To Outburst of COVID-19

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Prior to a significant ruling Communist Party meeting this year, officials increased their efforts to limit Covid-19, ordering a lockdown on millions of people in the areas surrounding China’s capital on Tuesday Aug 30,2022

As officials work to contain a minor virus flare-up, nearly four million residents of Beijing’s neighboring Hebei province have been told to stay at home until the end of the week.

Following the reporting of 51 relatively minor cases, more than 13 million people in the nearby port city of Tianjin must undergo mass testing starting at 6 am (2200 GMT).

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Lockdowns, travel restrictions, and mass testing have disrupted businesses and slowed growth in China, which is the only major country in the world to maintain a zero-Covid policy.

Beijing has doubled down on the policy ahead of the Communist Party’s 20th National Congress, expected to take place within the next three months.

The handling of the pandemic is widely seen as central to the political legacy of President Xi Jinping, who is set to be anointed for an unprecedented third term in office at the meeting.

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But “the actual Covid situation in China might be worsening, as Omicron has once again spread to large cities”, Nomura analyst Ting Lu warned in a research note.

And in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, two districts are under partial lockdown, while the world’s biggest electronics market in Huaqiangbei has closed — despite just 35 daily cases being reported in the city of over 18 million.

“The notice to close came abruptly, we only had a few hours to put our stock into warehouses and lock up,” a trader at the Huaqiangbei tech market, who only offered his last name Chen, told AFP.

In Futian, where the city government is located, cinemas, karaoke bars and parks are closed until Friday and large public events have been cancelled.

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Officials also sealed off Wanxia neighbourhood on the city’s outskirts, which offers affordable housing for delivery drivers and migrant workers, although no cases were reported there.

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Written by Ruth Semilore

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