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COVID-19 cases quadruple in Beijing; China imposes further lockdowns


China has dialed up measures to stop COVID after a quadrupling of its case load in recent weeks.

The city of 21 million people reported 18 new locally transmitted cases, bringing the tally for the past 10 days to 197. That is four times more than the 49 infections detected in the previous 10-day period, according to Reuters.

While the number of cases is very small compared with other countries, China’s zero-COVID policy has compelled the capital to ratchet up preventive measures.

Beijing’s health authority called for stronger screening of risky individuals and meticulous checks on people entering crowded places, including supermarkets and gyms.

Some residential compounds with suspected cases were put under three-day lockdowns that could be extended if new infections emerge.

In recent days, China has pledged to stick to its zero-COVID policy despite growing public frustration with it and its toll on the economy, quelling speculation that it would relax the hardline stance soon.

Shanghai, like many other Chinese cities battling sporadic COVID outbreaks, revealed this week that it was planning to build a 3,250-bed quarantine facility on a small island close to the city center.

Other major cities including Beijing and Guangzhou have similar quarantine centres with thousands of beds. They also conduct regular public testing campaigns.

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