Beijing quarantines all residents of housing complex after Covid-19 cases found: Report

Beijing found 70 new infections on May 20, an increase from 62 a day earlier. PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (AFP, BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Authorities in Beijing have sent all residents of a large housing complex into quarantine after a total of 26 cases of Covid-19 were discovered in the compound, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

Residents of the Nanxinyuan compound in Chaoyang district were moved to a centre for seven days of quarantine from Saturday (May 21), according to the report, which cited a notice issued on Friday by the virus control and prevention command of Nanmofangxiang. The first infections at the complex were found on May 12, it said.

“Experts have determined that all Nanxinyuan residents undergo centralised quarantine beginning midnight May 21 for seven days,” authorities from Chaoyang district said on Friday.

“Please cooperate, otherwise you will bear the corresponding legal consequences.”

Social media photos showed hundreds of residents with luggage queueing in the dark to board coaches parked outside the compound.

“Some of us have been locked down for 28 days since April 23, and we all tested negative throughout,” wrote one resident on the Twitter-like Weibo.

“The transfer really makes us feel like we’re in a wartime scene,” resident and real estate blogger Liu Guangyu posted on Weibo early on Saturday.

Residents were told to pack their clothes and essential belongings, and that their homes would be disinfected afterwards, according to screenshots shared on Weibo.

Last month, thousands of negative Shanghai residents were bused to makeshift quarantine centres hundreds of kilometres away as the metropolis of 25 million people doubled down on efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Weibo users expressed widespread anxiety that Beijing authorities were taking a similar approach to Shanghai, where residents have chafed under a weeks-long lockdown that has denied many people adequate access to food and medical care.

Beijing reported 63 new domestically transmitted Covid-19 infections during the 24 hours to 3pm on Saturday, a disease control official at the Chinese capital said.

Of the infections, 56 were found in controlled areas and seven during community screening tests, Liu Xiaofeng, deputy director at Beijing Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, told a news briefing.

The city has recorded 1,399 Covid-19 infections since April 22, Liu said.

Some areas of Fengtai district in the nation's capital remain in lockdown, and dine-in services and in-person classes in schools are still suspended.

The Covid-19 case count in Shanghai, which remains the epicentre of the outbreak in China, remained stable. None of the new infections were found outside of government quarantine, after three were found in the community on Friday, breaking a six-day streak.

Shanghai will resume operations on four subway lines starting on Sunday, and passengers taking public transportation will be required to carry a negative Covid-19 test taken within the past 48 hours, officials said at a daily press conference.

Industrial production in the city will restart in three stages, with the focus on resuming supply chains before May 22, according to a report in the Shanghai Securities News on Saturday. The scope of resumptions will be expanded between May 22 and May 31, with the comprehensive restart expected to be accelerated after June 1, it said.

The total Covid-19 case tally in China for May 20 was 1,132, compared with 1,115 a day earlier.

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