Beijing: The authorities in China’s capital have warned that a COVID-19 surge due to the bar-related outbreaks was critical and the city is gripped with the most serious outbreak since the pandemic began.
Due to the latest outbreak in Beijing, millions of people are facing mandatory testing and thousands are under targeted lockdowns, just days after the city started to lift widespread curbs that had run for more than a month to tackle a broader outbreak since late April.
The authorities announced over the weekend a “ferocious” COVID-19 outbreak linked to the Heaven Supermarket Bar, which had only just re-opened after coronavirus curbs were eased last week.
A Beijing health official last week said that the outbreak that started at a bar in Beijing is at a rapidly spreading stage and the transmission risk remains high, as per Global Times.
More cases are expected to be discovered among visitors to the bar and their close contacts, deputy director of Beijing disease control and prevention center Liu Xiaofeng had said during a press conference.
Meanwhile, Beijing reported 14 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and four local asymptomatic cases in the last 24 hours, the municipal health commission said Thursday.
The coronavirus outbreak has raised new worries about the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy.
The economic impact of the zero-COVID strategy has also dented income. Fiscal revenue fell 4.8 per cent on the year for the four months through April, according to the Finance Ministry, owing mainly to tax refunds aimed at supporting businesses.
Borrowing had already been on the rise at the local level to fund growth-boosting infrastructure investment.
With Xi appearing intent on sticking to the zero-COVID policy, balancing control measures with economic stimulus will be a difficult task.
Beijing’s extreme lockdowns have led to protests and clashes between authorities and residents forced to stay home for weeks without normal access to food and medical supplies. The harsh lockdowns look set to depress economic growth to lows last recorded in the early 1990s.