In Beijing man quarantined thousands of its neighbors after ignoring a stay-at-home order and later tested positive for Covid-19, prompting a police investigation.
The Chinese capital has ordered hundreds of thousands of residents to stay home over the past five weeks to stem its largest Covid-19 outbreak since the pandemic began.
Officials said Sunday that a man in his forties named Sun failed to comply with the isolation requirement that was imposed on him after visiting a shopping mall considered to be high-risk.
“During the period of home isolation he … went out many times and walked around the neighborhood,” said Pan Xuhong, a Beijing public security official.
Sun and his wife later tested positive, prompting authorities to lock up 5,000 of their neighbors back home and send 250 to a government quarantine center.
It came as restrictions on viruses began easing in Beijing on Monday, with authorities reopening parks, museums and cinemas and declaring the outbreak under control.
China is married to a zero-Covid strategy of hard blocks, mass testing and long quarantine periods to wipe out clusters as they emerge.
There are harsh penalties for breaking the rules and Sun is now under police investigation.
The Omicron-powered Beijing cluster has seen more than 1,700 Covid-19 infections since the end of April, a small number by global standards but worrying about China’s rigid approach to the virus.
The number of cases has dropped dramatically in the past week.
“No new cases have been found in the company (outside the quarantine centers) for two days,” Beijing government spokesman Xu Hejian said Sunday.
“The situation is stable and improving … but the risk of a rebound still exists.”
Most bus, subway and taxi services in three of the capital’s most populous districts returned to operation on Monday and millions of people were told to return to work.
A handful of tai chi practitioners and locals were enjoying the mild weather in a reopened downtown park.
“I think people are waiting to see if there are any new cases before they come out in large numbers,” said Zhi Ruo, a government employee who had taken his five-year-old son to play.
– Shanghai Leasing –
China’s commercial hub in Shanghai also announced the lifting of some additional restrictions on Monday, nearly two months after economic activity stalled due to a heavy lockdown across the city.
The number of people detained at home has gradually decreased and the municipal government has said it “will not restrict the access of residents or villagers into and out of their communities for any reason” from June 1, except for communities classified as areas at risk or controlled.
About 900,000 people in thousands of communities across the city are still in these brackets, according to state-run China National Radio.
Public transport will also “resume basic operations” from Wednesday, authorities said, adding that taxis would be able to operate normally.
Private cars will be able to return to the road in Shanghai, with the exception of controlled areas, but will still not be able to leave or enter the city.
The shops remain closed, as are most of the schools.
The city has gradually eased restrictions over the past few weeks, including allowing multiple residents to go out for a few hours at a time.
But some have complained about discrepancies between official announcements and loose rules enforced on the pitch.
Deputy Mayor Wu Qing told reporters on Sunday that the city “will lift the unreasonable restrictions … and abandon the approval system for business and production.”
Wu announced a series of measures to support the virus-stricken Shanghai economy, including property tax cuts, gas and electricity subsidies for businesses, and an order for banks to lend more to small and medium-sized businesses. businesses.
The city reported 66 infections on Monday, while Beijing reported 12.