(Reuters) – SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Beijing, China’s capital, is facing an “explosive” circumstance. On Saturday, a government source stated that the COVID-19 epidemic was related to a bar. At the same time, Shanghai’s financial hub has undertaken massive laboratory tests to control an increase in cases linked to a beauty salons.
The caution came as Beijing’s COVID prohibitions were strengthened again on Thursday, with at least two districts shutting several entertainment venues amid a flare-up in a district known for nightlife, shopping, and embassies.
Even though China’s infection rate is lesser by global standards, the country keeps a zero-COVID policy, citing the necessity to save the elderly and the healthcare system, even as other countries attempt to live with the virus.
COVID-19 has killed only 5,226 people in the 1.4 billion-strong country thus far.
Regulators in Beijing stated on Saturday that all 61 reported cases identified in the city on Friday had either visited or had ties to the Heaven Supermarket Bar.
“The current outbreak… is extremely explosive in form and expansive in reach,” Beijing municipal administration secretary Xu Hejian stated at a media briefing.
As of 3 p.m. (0700 GMT) on Saturday, the capital has recognised 46 new local cases, all already separated or under supervision, per health official Liu Xiaofeng.
At the conference, the city did not disclose any new limits. Still, the Beijing Sports Administration later revealed that all off-campus and “offline” sports events for youths would be cancelled beginning Sunday.
So far, 115 cases and 6,158 close contacts have been connected to the bar, re-igniting panic in the city of 22 million people.
Beijing only eased limitations imposed to tackle a significant outbreak that started in April a few weeks ago.
On Friday, the Universal Beijing Resort, a vast theme park on the city’s outskirts, cancelled plans to reopen. Three of the city’s employees were reported to have gone to the Heaven Supermarket bar.
Many sections of the capital have been kept under lockdown, and inhabitants have been advised to stay home.
On Saturday, officials in Shanghai declared the detection of three additional confirmed local cases and one asymptomatic case beyond the isolated regions, as virtually all of the city’s 25 million residents began a new round of COVID tests.
This weekend, officials ordered all citizens in 15 of Shanghai’s 16 districts to undertake PCR testing, with five districts prohibiting inhabitants from leaving their homes during the testing time. Residents should complete at least one PCR test per week until July 31, as per a city official.
COVID-19, China’s most populous city, was only lifted on June 1 after a two-month closure.
“I’m frightened because if there are positive cases in the compound, it will be kept under lock and key,” Shanghai resident Shi Weiqi said. “I’ll also carefully stock up on items in case the past circumstance occurs again.”
Shanghai regulators also claimed they had reprimanded and terminated many district-level officials for failures at a hotel that was used to quarantine international visitors and was discovered as one of the sources of the Omicron coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai.
They also stated that several executives at a state-owned company owned the Red Rose beauty salon, where three cases were identified among staff this week, had been cautioned or fired.
Employees at the salon had not followed standards for conducting PCR testing regularly.
Shanghai reported seven new local symptomatic cases for the last day on Saturday, an increase of one, with six discovered outside of restricted regions.
In addition, the city reported nine additional local asymptomatic cases, up from six the day before.
The National Health Commission reported 210 new coronavirus cases in mainland China on June 10, of which 79 were symptomatic, and 131 were asymptomatic.
There were 151 more cases a day earlier, 45 of which were symptomatic and 106 of which were asymptomatic.
Mainland China had verified 224,659 cases with symptoms as of Friday.