Chinese capital Beijing is bracing up for incipient rise in COVID cases by closing many public venues, canceling public events, shifting schools to online teaching, locking down certain areas amid reports of price rise in shops as authorities scrambled to stabilize supply and keep the delivery chain intact. Fears that the capital could head into a lockdown prompted widespread stock piling, leading to shortages in some supermarkets. Chinese authorities have said they are cracking down on price gouging as food shortages in Shanghai due to lockdown continue and fears in Beijing caused a rush to supermarkets.

Taking a que from poorly managed lockdown in Shanghai and the northeastern province of Jilin, Beijing has moved ever faster to halt a growing outbreak as it has reported nearly 180 cases in this week. Authorities are mass testing more than 20 million people across Beijing three times and suspended all mass gatherings and events. On Thursday, the city reported 56 new cases. Authorities locked down some residential buildings, office blocks and a university and closed some public spaces and venues. To stem infections in schools, all schools in Beijing have shifted to online teaching. Many buildings are asking for a negative COVID before entering the premises.

Meanwhile, Shanghai’s 25 million residents have been in lockdown for weeks, with major food shortages, poor quality of food, delivery issues and huge price surge. It comes as social media platforms shut down the account of a high-profile critic of the government’s insistence on a traditional Chinese medicine product being rolled out to millions of residents. Yesterday, Chinese censors d Weibo account of Wang Sicong, a well-known figure and son of one of China’s richest men which was among the most high-profile representations of growing discontent in China, as lockdowns and harsh zero-Covid measures continue, particularly in Shanghai.

The southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou cancelled hundreds of flights and ordered mass testing of about 5.6 million people after it detected one suspected case. The Chinese mainland reported 1,494 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, of which 1,292 were in Shanghai and 48 were in Beijing. Shanghai also reported 9,330 local asymptomatic carriers. Over 550,000 local infections have been reported on the Chinese mainland in April, said the NHC. Shanghai has been accelerating the vaccination of the elderly as the death toll has gone up to 238 in the city.


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