Beijing declares initial Covid victory as bar-linked surge in cases eases

·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Beijing declared an initial victory in its latest battle with Covid-19 on Thursday.

It comes after officials ordered the testing of millions of people and quarantined thousands in the past week, in a bid to curb an outbreak prolonged by a sudden wave of cases linked to a bar.

The flare-up at the popular Heaven Supermarket Bar emerged just days after the Chinese capital started to lift some restrictions.

These curbs had been in place for around a month in Beijing, a city home to 21.5 million people, to tackle a more widespread outbreak that has been circulating since late April.

The surge since June 9 saw a total of 351 positive infections recorded so far.

“After eight days of hard fighting and the concerted efforts of Beijing residents in the battle, the swift and decisive measures have shown their effect,” Beijing city government spokesperson Xu Hejian said.

“The Heaven Supermarket bar outbreak is easing, but the possibility of hidden infections in communities still exists,” Xu added.

Beijing authorities have launched criminal probes into individuals who ventured out during their at-home isolation period and later tested positive.

They have suspended businesses that failed to properly implement Covid prevention rules, and vowed to tighten inspection of various businesses, which have been told to check their clients and customers’ body temperature and digital health credentials.

An easing in the flare-up in infections that started late last week will be a boost to Beijing’s residents and economy.

The broader outbreak, lasting more than 50 days and counting, has disrupted the city’s commerce and hit retail spending.

Beijing’s return to a more regular Covid prevention regime, which will see regular testing by individuals and targeted lockdowns of affected buildings rather than days of mass testing and restrictions on movement in entire districts, would residents’ calm worries of a more severe disruption, as seen during Shanghai’s lockdown.

Shanghai’s strict two-month lockdown finally lifted on June 1.

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