Beijing vows swift action to curb Covid-19 outbreak at university

Six positive cases have been found at the Communication University of China, which was put under lockdown on Sept 9, 2022. PHOTO: EN.CUC.EDU.CN

BEIJING - A Covid-19 outbreak at one of China's top media schools should be stamped out in the "shortest period of time," Beijing government officials said on Sunday, as the capital reported 15 new infections.

Six positive cases have been found at the Communication University of China, which was put under lockdown on Friday, with students confined to their rooms.

A government spokesman said recent outbreaks at schools stemmed from students returning from holidays, and that educational facilities should enhance Covid-19 prevention measures to avoid spillovers into the wider community.

The 14,000-student institution, famous for educating celebrity TV anchors, is located in the eastern suburbs of Beijing.

All cases found in the capital on Sunday were in quarantine, officials said.

China is intensifying lockdowns and restrictions as a key Communist Party meeting looms.

Chengdu, the country's sixth-largest city with 21 million people, and parts of Guiyang, home to China's biggest residential compound where some 400,000 people live in 300 buildings, are locked down, while Beijing has tightened travel curbs for anyone entering or leaving the capital.

The policies seem designed to reduce the risk of outbreaks before the Party Congress in mid-October in Beijing, a once-in-five-years meeting where President Xi Jinping is due to secure a precedent-breaking third term in office.

The enforcement measures highlight yet again the government's commitment to stamp out the virus even as the economic and social costs climb.

Meanwhile, authorities in Xinjiang have apologised for shortages of food and medicine in areas that have been locked down for a month to contain a Covid-19 outbreak.

Reports of shortages and tough conditions in Yili, a part of of northern Xinjiang bordering Kazakhstan, have been swirling on Chinese social media for days, with some claiming posts on the situation were being censored.

Officials admitted on Friday that there had been issues, with Liu Qinghua, deputy governor of the affected area, saying the lockdown had prevented some people from accessing hospital treatment, and that there had been problems distributing food.

Nationwide, 1,138 new Covid infections were reported for Saturday, with 300 of those in Tibet. BLOOMBERG

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