The last major economy still welded to a zero-tolerance COVID-19 policy, China enforced snap lockdowns, mass testing and quarantines to control outbreaks to great success in the earlier stages of the pandemic.
But the latest spiralling outbreak is testing the limits of that playbook, with officials keen to avoid citywide lockdowns like Shanghai’s two-month ordeal in April, which marred the finance hub’s economy and international image.
Three elderly Beijing residents with underlying diseases died from COVID-19 over the weekend, authorities said, marking China’s first deaths from the disease since May.
While the capital has so far avoided a blanket shutdown, there have been widely enforced snap lockdowns of individual buildings and long polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing queues due to the requirement for a 24-hour negative test for entry to most public spaces.
Over the weekend, authorities advised residents to stay at home and not travel between districts, and on Monday required travellers to the city to test more times after they arrive.
Many tourist attractions, gyms and parks have been closed, with large-scale events such as concerts cancelled.