China’s capital Beijing closed more gyms, shopping malls, cinemas and apartment blocks on Friday, with authorities stepping up contact tracing to contain an outbreak of COVID-19, while resentment over draconian month-long lockdown in Shanghai continued to grow.
In the financial hub, fenced-off people in several districts have been protesting the closure and difficulties in getting supplies by banging pots and pans at night, according to a Reuters news agency witness and residents.
A video shared on social media, the authenticity of which could not be immediately verified, showed a woman warning people through a megaphone not to do so, saying such gestures were being encouraged by “outsiders”.
The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Beijing’s Chaoyang district, the first to undergo mass testing this week, began the latest of three rounds of screening on Friday among its 3.5 million residents. Most other districts are due to conduct their third round of testing on Saturday.
Chaoyang, which accounts for the bulk of cases in the capital’s current outbreak, stepped up measures to curb transmissions by declaring more neighborhoods at risk.
People who had recently visited places in those areas received text messages telling them to stay put until they get their test results.
Hello citizens! He recently visited the braised beef and chicken noodle shop in Guanghui Li community,” one such text read. “Report to your resort or hotel immediately, stand still and wait for notification of the nucleic acid test.”
“If you violate the above requirements and cause the epidemic situation to spread, you will bear the legal responsibility.”
At testing sites, employees in blue aprons urged people queuing to get tested to observe a 2-meter social distancing rule while megaphones reminded crowds not to remove their masks.
Additional apartment blocks were sealed and certain spas, KTV lounges, gyms, cinemas and libraries, and at least two shopping malls closed on Friday, while couriers and food delivery staff were denied entry to some residential complexes. .
Companies like JD.com, an e-commerce platform, have gone out of their way to keep residents well supplied.
The head of one of its logistics centers on the outskirts of Beijing, Ming Tang, 32, said delivery volumes have risen 65 percent since the first cases emerged on April 22 and that 80 percent of packages are related to food.
“The strain of delivering packages on time and the long working hours put a lot of pressure on our couriers,” he said.
Beijing reported 49 cases on April 28, up from 50 the day before.
Shanghai reported 52 new COVID-19 deaths on April 28, up from 47 a day earlier, the local government said on Friday. It recorded 9,545 new asymptomatic cases on April 28, up from 9,330 the day before, while symptomatic cases increased from 1,292 to 5,487.
While some delivery bottlenecks in the city have been eased, criticism of the government has continued to grow, particularly on the issue of government food supplies. Residents in some districts complain their rations have been less frequent than others, taking to social media to compare deliveries.
The lockdown is prompting dozens of foreign residents to flee mainland China’s most cosmopolitan city.
While no official statistics are available for departures in recent weeks, pet carriers, real estate agents and law firms say they’re seeing a sharp rise in inquiries, while online groups exchanging advice on how to leave have increased.
“Until the lockdown I couldn’t really feel the authoritarian rule, because you’re more or less free to do whatever you want and I never really lived oppressed,” said Jennifer Li, a foreigner who is making plans for her family to leave. the city that has been her home for 11 years.