Beijing closes school to control coronavirus outbreak

Local residents line up in front of a temporary covid test center after a coronavirus outbreak in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

Md. Ashraful Islam: Beijing has closed dozens of buildings to control the coronavirus outbreak, as well as schools, closed the day before the May Day holiday.

More than 200 COVID patients have been identified in the Chinese capital since April 22, the New York Times reported, citing a Beijing official.

While the number of patients is negligible compared to most parts of the world, it is a matter of concern for Chinese officials. The coronavirus has been under control in the country for the past two years.

China’s central government is still relying on its policy of eradicating local infections without surviving the virus.

Schools in Beijing were closed on Friday (April 30), the day before the start of the five-day holiday, to mark May Day. The decision on whether the school will reopen from next Thursday (April 5) after the end of the holiday will be taken later, officials said.

Most of Beijing’s 22 million residents have had to undergo multiple census tests since last week. So far, however, Beijing has not had to resort to lockdowns in cities like Shanghai.

Shanghai, an important economic center in Asia, is struggling to cope with a relatively large outbreak of the coronavirus. Many residents of the city have been under house arrest for more than a month. More than 550,000 covid patients have been identified in the city so far, and 338 of them have died.

Also on Thursday, 52 people were reported killed in the city.

Photo: Reuters

Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly is because of the economic downturn in Shanghai.

As of Friday, at least 60 buildings in different parts of the capital city, as well as some roads and areas, have been locked down; In addition, restrictions have been imposed in many areas, according to China’s state-run newspaper Beijing Daily.

However, it was not clear how many people would be affected by the ban.

The authorities’ move to control the outbreak is expected to cast a shadow over the holiday season. Among the places to be closed is the large luxury department store Beijing SKP.

Officials are also discouraging people from leaving Beijing and holding “unnecessary” gatherings.

The Beijing Traffic Commission estimates that traffic on highways is now 40 percent lower than at the same time last year.

Rail and air travel from one province to another is expected to be less.

Despite the social and economic damage, Chinese officials see lockdown and mass detection tests as the only way to control the spread of the coronavirus.

On Friday, Li Bin, deputy director of the country’s National Health Commission, called the strategy China’s “magic wand.”


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