China’s capital Beijing battles Covid with high-rise apartments

Covid restrictions have been tightened in Beijing, while infections are on the rise, prompting lockdowns of communities.

Jade Gao | Afp | Good pictures

BEIJING – China’s capital has come to a near standstill as Covid restrictions spread.

Many apartment buildings in Beijing barred residents from leaving for at least a few days on Friday. That’s on top of growing restrictions on business operations that have forced gyms to close and restaurants to stop selling food.

James Zimmerman, a partner in Perkins Co’s Beijing office, said, “This morning most of our 30+ employees reported that their communities were on 7-day lockdown. said on Twitter on Friday. A day earlier, the company had asked all its employees to work from home, he said.

It is not clear how many people are affected on a city-wide basis and to what extent containment measures are being implemented. Beijing has about 22 million people.

“You keep hearing about someone being locked out and you have this constant feeling that you’re going to be next,” Jörg Woodke, president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, said on Friday. He estimates that about 40% of people in his office area are locked out.

The Beijing city government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Municipal officials did not announce a city-wide lockdown and warned that it was during a “critical” period to contain the virus.

Local infections have increased despite a gradual tightening of Covid measures over the past two weeks. The city of Beijing recorded more than 1,800 new Covid infections on Thursday, bringing the total for the month to more than 10,000.

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Similar infections have risen in other parts of mainland China — a New daily high across the country Jupiter has more than 32,000.

The central government this month sent an encouraging signal to investors about future reopenings Organizing quarantine times, Among other changes. But the zero-covid policy itself has not changed.

“When in the beginning [new measures] came out, we felt somewhat positive. But now, we’ve found that the interpretation varies widely,” said Jennifer Birdsong, a Chengdu-based member of the board of the EU Chamber Southwest China Chapter. “There are many differences in what is interpreted as a necessary lockdown.”

“Now, we’re in a situation where bars, restaurants and gyms are all there [were] closed last night,” he said, adding that business owners were frustrated by the lack of notice.

He said the restrictions meant some workers had to sleep in factories and were unable to distribute food.

Immersion in road traffic

Data shows that people in Covid-affected areas are moving less, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Baidu traffic data shows Beijing has dropped from the most congested city in all of China to 74th.

Subway ridership in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing has plunged nearly 99% from a year ago, according to a Goldman Sachs report on Friday.

In the southern city of Guangzhou, the report said it was down about 65% from last year.

Guangzhou has been the capital of the export-intensive province of Guangdong It has been hit hard by this month’s covid wave. There are even some frustrated residents Break the locking barriers, Local officials said Thursday, state media reported.

Only some parts of the city are locked down. But businesses are worried and are working overtime to make sure they can fulfill their orders without disruption, said Klaus Genkel, vice president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China and head of its South China chapter.

A company in the food industry had to be locked down for about a week and lost hundreds of tons of unspecified material, he said.

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Members of the EU Chamber in Shanghai are moving meetings online and taking other preventive measures, while in the northern city of Shenyang, restaurants and gyms will have to close again, local business representatives said.

Overall, the EU Chamber noted on Friday that greater emphasis should be placed on vaccinating the local population. China lags behind the US and Singapore in vaccination coverage Rates for Seniors.

Chinese authorities have focused in recent months on using more frequent virus testing and more targeted measures in an effort to contain the Covid outbreak while allowing some business activity.

“We will continue to push papers … [Chinese] I think the administration, because they’re doing some soul-searching on how to deal with this situation,” Wudtke said. “China has a zero-tolerance policy, and it’s going to be hard to get out of this corner.”

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