China locks down Beijing subways to control spread of COVID-19

Despite recording only small numbers of daily cases, the Chinese capital Beijing closed dozens of subway stations due to COVID-19 measures intended to curtail spread of the deadly virus.

China has been battling its worst COVID-19 surge since the early days of the pandemic, with most cases recorded in the country’s business hub, Shanghai.

After Shanghai witnessed scenes of chaos and anger for prolonged stay-at-home, Beijing’s residents fear their city may be next in line.

This week, Beijing reported just 51 infections, with five being asymptomatic, while Shanghai reported nearly 5,000 cases.

Some Beijing housing compounds have already been locked down after infections were reported, and many tourist sites tightened rules for this week’s busy May holiday, while eating-in at restaurants has also been banned.

The China World Trade Center, including offices and shopping complex, was temporarily closed this week, and Beijing residents have started stockpiling essential supplies in case they are ordered to stay at home.

Also, the city’s subway operator announced, on its WeChat page, the closure of about 40 stations, some 12 percent of the transportation network, stating, “The entrances and exits of stations will be closed, but transfers can be done within the stations.”

“I think the city is already in a semi-closed state. There is no timetable for when our lockdown will be lifted, and more places are being sealed, “a Beijing resident in a sealed compound anonymously told AFP, stressing freedoms were already being limited.

Another resident said he was buying groceries online to avoid contact with people at supermarkets, stating, “No one can really tell how long the restrictions will last, but I understand the reasoning.”

Meanwhile, Beijing’s heavily populated Chaoyang district has begun another round of mass testing.