Beijing extends work-from-home order as COVID-19 cases rise
BEIJING (AP) — Beijing extended orders for workers and students to stay home and ordered additional mass testing Monday as cases of COVID-19 rose in the Chinese capital.
Numerous residential compounds in the city have restricted movement in and out, although conditions remain far less severe than in Shanghai, where millions of citizens have been under varying degrees of lockdown for two months.
Beijing on Monday reported an uptick in new cases to 99, up from a previous daily average of around 50. Two more districts, Shijingshan and Haidian, began a work-from-home policy this week, bringing the total to six. In cases where people need to go to their offices, the number of workers is limited to 30% of the normal level.
Nationwide, China reported 802 new cases Monday, marking a steady decline interrupted only by small-scale localized outbreaks. Despite that, the government has hewed to strict quarantine, lockdown and testing measures under its “zero-COVID” approach, even while the outside world is opening up.
About 550 of the new cases were in Shanghai, where restrictions are only gradually being eased. The city reopened four of its 20 subway lines on Sunday, with trains operating on a reduced schedule of every 20 minutes from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The number of new cases in China’s largest city has fallen under 1,000 for eight days in a row, but outbreaks could still come back in some areas, said Lei Zhenglong, the deputy chief of disease control and prevention at the National Health Commission.
A reopening of transport links out of Shanghai has created an exodus of migrant workers and others who were trapped by the lockdown. Among those who remain, some have been issued exit passes to leave their residential compounds or neighborhoods for a limited time for shopping or walks, while others remain restricted to their buildings.