Beijing is transforming in a ghost town due to new health restrictions

Millions of Chinese worked from their homes on Monday after a new closure was imposed to fight the COVID-19 epidemic, transforming Beijing’s 22 million people. in a ghost town.

For two months, China has been facing the worst epidemic wave since the Corona virus outbreak in early 2020.

Even though the number of infections is still small globally, the Chinese authorities are still strictly implementing a policy zero-Covid and isolating entire cities as soon as a few cases appear.

After Shanghai, the most populous city it is in lockdown since the beginning of April, Beijing has been subject to movement restrictions for a week and many public places (restaurants, cafes, gyms …) have been closed.

On Monday, the authorities decided to limit access to only non-essential services in the Chaoyang district, the busiest and busiest district in the capital, as companies are expected to limit the number of their regular employees to 5%. As a result, a large number of employees were forced to work from home.

“Working from home is a bit boring, but it’s for everyone’s sake,” Fang, a 35-year-old Beijing resident who works in the advertising industry, told AFP.

Sanlitun, a busy business district in eastern Beijing, was empty on Monday morning. The Apple Store, usually packed with customers, was ordered to close its doors a few minutes before it opened.

reduce the risk

“I don’t feel comfortable when there are few people in ride, “Wang, a maintenance worker, told AFP in waiting to enter the restaurant where he works.

“I am accused of sterilization, I cannot work from home,” she added.

On Monday, Beijing announced that it had recorded 49 cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours.

City official Xu Hejian told the press that the health situation in the capital is “serious and complicated”, urging residents not to leave Beijing except for reasons of force majeure.

And to access public places, in particularly supermarkets, as well as buildings containing work offices, will require examinations of no more than 48 hours.

A financial sector official, without revealing his name, told AFP that his company had asked him to “avoid traveling” to his home to reduce the risk of injury during transport.

He pointed out that “one of his friends advised (…) to go (to work) in bike”.

tension and resentment

In Shanghai, the number of new infections fell on Monday to less than four thousand, after having exceeded 25 thousand at the end of April.

The current outbreak has also killed more than 500 people in Shanghai, according to an official tally. Officially, the total number of deaths in China has just passed 5,000 since the start of the Covid crisis.

Some residents express their displeasure after 40 days of closure, a period that has sometimes seen supply problems.

In the Quanzhou district, according to the videos circulating on the social mediaresidents faced government employees last weekend in complete protective gear.

And local authorities announced that “the police moved as quickly as possible to persuade spectators to disperse and restore calm”.

“According to an investigation carried out on the spot, the rioters had enough food in home, “he confirmed.

Experts warned that the Chinese strategy “zero Covid “, which involves the imposition of closures and the carrying out of a large number of frequent checks on the population, is costing the country’s economy dearly.

According to the American Chamber of Commerce, some of the member companies of the Chamber in Shanghai remain closed while others shut down in doubt their investments in China, due to health restrictions.

House Speaker Colm Rafferty warned that the business world was “preparing for a mass flight of foreign expertise.”