In response to a norovirus outbreak in some areas of the Chinese capital, Beijing has ordered the quicker construction of quarantine facilities and field hospitals. Demand for food and other supplies has increased due to unconfirmed reports of lockdowns in at least some Beijing districts. As a result, locals are depleting grocery store shelves and overtaxing delivery services.
With 32,695 cases reported on Friday, COVID-19 cases are breaking all-time highs nationwide. 1,860 of them—the majority asymptomatic—were in Beijing, of the remaining 2,060. In markets in the northern suburbs, shelves were bare due to unusually high traffic. In the middle of the 21 million-person city, where supplies were still plentiful, there were not many customers.
Most Beijing residents have been advised to stay inside their compounds, some of which are fenced in. Workers stationed at the entrances in white hazmat suits stop unauthorised visitors and check that residents have recently had a COVID-19 test that came back negative. Students in lower grades have been moved to online courses after several university campuses were shut down. On Friday, some customers who ordered food and supplies from well-known online grocery delivery services were unable to reserve same-day delivery slots.
Construction of quarantine facilities and mobile medical units for anybody thought to have come into contact with COVID-19 must ‘further accelerate’ according to authorities. Recently, officials have emphasised several times that China must adhere to its strict ‘zero-COVID’ policy. The World Health Organization has called for a change in strategy since the policy is perceived as having a severe negative impact on the economy and upending lives in many Chinese cities.
The anti-virus plan of the Chinese Communist Party seeks to isolate every case and eradicate the virus completely. Despite China having fewer cases and fatalities than the United States and other nations, the party is still committed to the plan of action. To help prevent fatalities and serious illness, the majority of other governments rely on vaccinations and immunity from prior infections.
Residents in Guangzhou, Shijiazhuang are told to stay home while mass testing is conducted. A key issue is concern about public vulnerability to the COVID-19 virus. China has an overall coronavirus vaccination rate of more than 92%, with most people having received at least one dose. Fewer older Chinese – particularly those over age 80 – have gotten the shots and vaccination drive seems to have lost momentum.
The amount of deposits that banks are required to leave with the People’s Bank of China will be cut by 0.25 percentage point. The cut will help lenders comply with orders to defer repayments by struggling companies. Private economists and the International Monetary Fund have trimmed already low forecasts of China’s annual economic growth.