A new project by Chinese designers and architects has been selected to redesign the city of Beijing. The design, which focuses on “intelligent public space,” seeks to seamlessly integrate nature into the urban landscape for a more sustainable future.
The “omicron news” is a blog that provides information about the latest happenings in China. It covers topics including economy, politics, and culture.
BEIJING— Chinese authorities rushed to conduct citywide Covid-19 tests across Beijing, betting that quick action to contain a nascent outbreak in the nation’s capital will avoid the chaos seen during Shanghai’s strict lockdown, though it also raises the risk that China’s strict antivirus policies will further harm the country’s already-fragile economy.
As worries of a Shanghai-style shutdown rose, residents raced to acquire food and other necessities. All inhabitants of Chaoyang, Beijing’s most populated district and home to embassies and numerous foreign corporations, will be subjected to three rounds of testing starting Monday, according to city authorities. Officials stated residents’ movements in numerous huge city blocks encompassing nearly 2.5 square miles would be restricted until testing were done.
Nearly 3.7 million tests had been completed by 8 p.m. Monday, with more than 520,000 results obtained. Officials said during a late-night news briefing that all of them were negative.
Following a recent rise in new illnesses, they also stated that testing will be extended to all major built-up regions of the metropolis of 21.5 million people. On Monday afternoon, 29 instances were recorded, eight more than the previous 24-hour period and more than quadruple the number of new cases reported the day before.
While the numbers are still small, the speed with which Shanghai’s government was overrun serves as a sobering warning of what might happen when the readily distributed Omicron variety collides with China’s strict zero-Covid policy. According to the authorities, the number of cases in Shanghai fell to 19,455 on Monday. Despite four weeks of sweeping lockdowns, mass testing, and stringent quarantine, new infections in the city are 100 times greater than in the next worst-affected location, Jilin Province in northeast China.
Residents are using social media to whine about a lack of food or bartering with neighbors as Shanghai remains shut down due to China’s worst Covid-19 outbreak. Many people are questioning Beijing’s pandemic policy because to anxiety and hunger. Photo courtesy of Chinatopix and the Associated Press.
According to the National Health Commission, there were around 20,200 new cases nationwide on Monday. China’s health officials also disclosed 51 more deaths, all in Shanghai, increasing the total number of deaths to 138 since the city’s first Covid fatalities on April 17. Separately, Shandong, China’s second-most populous province, announced the finding of a novel Omicron mutation, BA.2.3, which is the first time the strain has been found on mainland China.
Stocks in China have dropped the most in more than two years. Investors were concerned that harsh restrictions to control the outbreaks would hurt China’s economic development and business earnings, thus the Shanghai Composite and CSI 300 indices fell 5.1 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Economists have dropped their growth forecasts for China, with the International Monetary Fund decreasing its growth prediction for the country to 4.4 percent in 2022 last week.
Over the weekend, Beijing authorities warned that the virus had been growing unnoticed around the city for the previous week. Transmission clusters were detected in Chaoyang, including a school, a tour group, and a delivery business. The school was shut down, and all face-to-face tutoring in the district was stopped, as well as domestic tour groups in the city.
After a member of the medical staff tested positive for Covid on Sunday evening, Beijing Fengtai Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine shuttered its emergency department.
During the testing time, all sporting events and other public gatherings, as well as domestic construction—including home renovations—will be halted, according to Xu Hejian, a Beijing municipal government spokeswoman.
Authorities may be able to cut any routes of transmission before the virus gets established by acting quickly to test large areas of the city. Mass testing, on the other hand, may result in an influx of positive cases, who will then need to be quarantined along with their close connections, increasing the likelihood of a citywide lockdown.
Beijing’s annual gross domestic product per capita, equivalent to about $25,500, puts it ahead of Shanghai and the other 29 provinces and equivalent regions in this measure, despite its lack of financial capital’s importance to the nation’s economy—total exports are less than half of Shanghai’s, and the industrial base is shrinking. Failure to stem the epidemic at the Communist Party’s seat of authority, though, would be a big setback for Xi Jinping in the year he is generally expected to defy convention and seek a third term in office.
On Sunday, workers were spotted erecting temporary tents with the slogan “Disaster Relief” outside one of Beijing’s key transportation hubs, while stores were packed with shoppers stocking up on frozen veggies, bottled water, and other basics. Residents circulated stories on the internet, including one headlined “Items Shanghaiers Regret Not Stocking Up On—You Can Take This List Right to the Grocery Store.”
On Sunday, a grocery in Beijing had almost bare shelves.
CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWL
By lunchtime on Monday, one store in Beijing’s Hepingli area had nearly completely depleted its produce department, leaving just a few damaged carrots, tomatoes, and string beans, as well as some more expensive veggies. Customers were advised to return later in the day, when additional supplies were scheduled to arrive, according to an announcement over the speaker system.
Ma, a 79-year-old lady, said she had intended to go to the grocery the day before but had to care for a sick relative. Ms. Ma could only find asparagus, Chinese cabbage, and sweet potato as she looked across the depleted aisle. She said, “I should have come yesterday.”
Sui Yunxi was shopping for goods for her grandmother and uncle, who are housebound and unable to shop for themselves, at a Wumart supermarket near Beijing’s Workers’ Stadium. Ms. Sui, who had a week’s supply of veggies and meat in her basket, said she didn’t believe the situation in Beijing would be as severe as it was in Shanghai. “However, it’s a good idea to store certain products,” she said.
Xia Bailu, a mother of two, was even more prepared, purchasing a freezer over the weekend to store meat and other food after she and her friends became more concerned about a wave of panic shopping among Beijing’s more than 21 million people.
Ms. Xia had previously stocked her refrigerator with sausages, dumplings, steamed buns, and a variety of meats, following in the footsteps of her Shanghai acquaintances and her parents in Jiangsu province, who had survived three-week or longer home quarantines.
“I don’t believe Beijing will fall into the same trap as Shanghai, particularly now that people have learnt from their mistakes and are more prepared,” Ms. Xia said, adding that she now has enough food to sustain her family of five for roughly three months. “If you stockpile enough food and everyday needs, you won’t panic,” she remarked.
Authorities have concentrated their efforts on immunizing the country’s vast elderly population, who are at a higher risk of having severe Covid symptoms. According to a local health official, the average age of Covid patients who died in Shanghai in the current wave was 81.
On Sunday, a sign hung atop a temporary vaccination tent in a Beijing suburb offered “rich rewards” to any senior people who received their first or second immunization jabs.
On Sunday, shoppers waited in line for food at a store in Beijing.
CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWL
According to official statistics, less than one in every five of China’s 35.8 million people above the age of 80 have gotten booster injections as of March 17. In Shanghai, the percentage is 15%.
On Saturday, Beijing’s senior Communist Party official stressed that combating the virus would need a quick reaction. Shanghai’s administration has been chastised for being sluggish to react to the epidemic and for relying on what it said was a more focused strategy to testing and lockdowns for far too long.
Meanwhile, Pegatron Corp., a key supplier to Apple Inc., said on Sunday that activities at a facility in Taoyuan, near the island’s capital Taipei, had been halted for five days due to an outbreak of Covid. On Monday, the mayor of Taoyuan said that 694 cases had been discovered at the factory, the majority of which were asymptomatic.
On Monday, Taiwan recorded 5,108 new local cases, breaking a daily record for the eighth time. Despite this, and in contrast to Beijing’s zero-Covid policy, health authorities have said that home quarantine durations for close relatives would be lowered, but not for incoming foreigners.
Due to China’s rigorous Covid procedures, Pegatron’s facilities in Shanghai and adjacent Kunshan were shut down earlier this month.
Apple goods are made in a Pegatron factory in Taoyuan, according to Apple’s supplier list. Requests for comment from the two firms on whether Pegatron manufactures Apple goods at the shuttered site were not immediately returned.
Pegatron estimates that the manufacturing interruption will amount to less than 0.1 percent of its yearly output.
—This paper was co-written by Grace Zhu, Reddy Zhao, Qianwei Zhang, Liyan Qi, Raffaele Huang, and Yang Jie.
The BA.2 and Omicron Variants
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The “covid cases decreasing” is a trend that has been present for a while. Beijing authorities have ordered the citywide installation of covid cases to decrease pollution levels in the city.
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