BEIJING – A record number of new COVID-19 cases were reported on Tuesday in Beijing, the capital of China, as the city hunkered down under a chokehold of restrictions that has forced many restaurants to close, schools online, and employees to work from home.
Health officials announced that more than 28,000 new infections were detected nationwide, approaching the pandemic’s all-time high. Guangdong province and the city of Chongqing recorded over 16,000 and 6,300 cases respectively.
The number of new cases in Beijing has also increased recently, more than tripling from 621 on Sunday to 1,438 on Tuesday, setting a pandemic record for the city.
China, the last developed country with a zero-tolerance policy, successfully controlled breakouts in the early phases of the pandemic by enforcing sudden lockdowns, mass testing and quarantines.
However, the most recent spiralling outbreak is pushing the boundaries of that strategy, as officials want to avoid widespread city-wide lockdowns like the two-month agony that crippled Shanghai’s economy and reputation in April.
According to authorities, three elderly people in Beijing with underlying illnesses passed away from COVID-19 over the weekend, the first such deaths in China since May.
The 24-hour negative test requirement for entrance to most public venues has resulted in lengthy PCR testing lines and widespread snap lockdowns of particular buildings, despite the fact that Beijing has so far escaped a total shutdown.
Authorities recommended citizens not to travel between districts over the weekend; they should stay at home. And on Monday it was mandated that visitors to the city do further tests once they got there.