“Some of our friends went bankrupt, and some lost their jobs,” said a 50-year-old Beijing retiree surnamed Zhu.
“We can’t do many activities we intended to do, and it is impossible to travel. So we really hope that the pandemic can end as soon as possible,” she said.
Health authorities attributed two more deaths to COVID-19, after three over the weekend, which were China’s first since May.
Even after the adjusted guidelines, China remains a global outlier with its strict COVID-19 restrictions, including borders that remain all but shut.
Tightening measures in Beijing and elsewhere, even as China tries to avoid city-wide lockdowns like the one that crippled Shanghai this year, have renewed investor worries about the world’s second-largest economy, weighing on stocks and prompting analysts to cut forecasts for China’s year-end oil demand.
Brokerage Nomura said its in-house index estimated that localities accounting for about 19.9 per cent of China’s total gross domestic product were under some form of lockdown or curbs, up from 15.6 per cent last Monday and not far off the index’s peak in April, during Shanghai’s lockdown.
The government argues that President Xi Jinping’s signature zero-COVID policy saves lives and is necessary to prevent the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.
But many frustrated social media users drew a comparison with maskless fans at the soccer World Cup, which began on Sunday in Qatar.
“Tens of thousands in Qatar don’t wear masks. And we are still panicking,” wrote one user on the Weibo platform.
Numerous Beijing residents have seen their buildings locked down during the recent outbreak, although those restrictions often last just a few days.
Some residents said grocery deliveries were slow because of heavy volumes while many museums were closed and venues such as the Happy Valley amusement park and the Chaoyang Park, popular with runners and picnickers, said they would shut.
Beijing reported 1,438 new domestic cases for Monday, up from 962 on Sunday, plus 634 more for the first 15 hours of Tuesday.
Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who has spearheaded the zero-COVID policy, visited Chongqing on Monday and urged authorities to stick with the plan and bring the outbreak under control, the municipality said.