CHINA WARNS OF EXPLOSIVE COVID OUTBREAK

A man getting tested in Beijing

China’s capital Beijing is experiencing an explosive COVID-19 outbreak connected to a bar, a government spokesperson warned on Saturday . Shanghai has begun mass testing in hopes to contain a jump in cases. There has been a renewed tightening of COVID curbs with two districts including Chaoyang .

Even though China has a low infection rate by global standards, President Xi Jinping has doubled down on a zero-COVID policy that authorities say is needed to protect the elderly . So far with a population of 1.4 billion the country has seen a total of just 5,226 fatalities.

The latest cases were linked to a drinking establishment known as Heaven Supermarket Bar in Beijing . Infections have since increased . β€œThe recent outbreak of cases related to Heaven Supermarket Bar is strongly explosive in nature  and widespread in scope, and the composition of the individuals involved is complex.” Xu Heijan , spokesperson of the Beijing municipal government , said at a new briefing.

So far a total of 115 cases and 6,158 close contacts linked to the bar have been reported, throwing the city of 22 million back into a state of anxiety. Beijing had relaxed curbs less than two weeks ago.

With the COVID resurgence, the sprawling Universal Beijing Resort – a theme park on the city’s outskirts – late on Friday rescinded a plan to reopen, saying it would remain closed until further notice. Three of its workers had visited the Heaven Supermarket bar, according to Beijing authorities.

Many neighborhoods in the capital have been put under lockdown, with residents told to remain at home.

Authorities have ordered PCR testing for all residents in 15 of Shanghai’s 16 districts this weekend, with five districts barring residents from leaving their homes during the testing period. Shanghai residents should complete at least one PCR test a week until July 31, a city official told a press conference on Saturday.

The new tests come just 10 days after the city lifted a two-month lockdown aimed at eliminating the community spread of COVID-19. sparking concerns among many residents who grappled with lost income, the loss of freedom, the death of friends and relatives, and even hunger during that period

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