Beijing shuts 10% of subway stations to stem COVID-19 spread

May 3, 2022, 10:40 AM | Updated: May 4, 2022, 6:25 pm
A worker wearing a protective suit swabs a man's throat for a COVID-19 test at a testing site durin...

A worker wearing a protective suit swabs a man's throat for a COVID-19 test at a testing site during the second consecutive day of mass testing in Beijing, Wednesday, May 4, 2022. Beijing on Wednesday closed around 10% of the stations in its vast subway system as an additional measure against the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING (AP) — China’s capital on Wednesday closed 60 subway stations, more than 10% of its vast system, as an additional measure against the spread of the coronavirus.

Forty stations were closed from the morning, and 20 more were added in the afternoon. The Beijing subway authority in a brief message said only that the mostly downtown stations were being shut as part of epidemic control measures. No date for the resumption of service was given.

Beijing has been on high alert for the spread of COVID-19, with restaurants and bars limited to takeout, gyms closed and classes suspended indefinitely. Major tourist sites in the city, including the Forbidden City and the Beijing Zoo, have closed their indoor exhibition halls and are operating at only partial capacity.

A few communities where cases were discovered have been isolated. People residing in “controlled” areas have been told to stay within city limits, including 12 areas deemed high-risk and another 35 considered medium-risk.

City residents are required to undergo three virus tests throughout the week as authorities seek to detect and isolate cases without imposing the sort of sweeping lockdowns seen in Shanghai and elsewhere. A negative test result obtained within the previous 48 hours is required to enter most public spaces.

Beijing on Wednesday recorded just 51 new cases, five of them asymptomatic.

The subway closings should have relatively little impact on city life, with China observing the Labor Day holiday this week and many commuters in the capital of 21 million already working from home.

In one downtown neighborhood categorized as high-risk on Wednesday, the streets were practically deserted apart from a few delivery drivers on scooters and an occasional pedestrian or car.

All businesses were shut except for supermarkets and fruit and vegetable stores. Outsiders generally stay away from high-risk areas to avoid the possibility of their presence registering on the tracing apps installed on virtually all mobile phones, creating potential problems for future access to public areas.

While taking a lighter touch in Beijing, China has stuck overall to its strict “zero-COVID” approach that restricts travel, tests entire cities and sets up sprawling facilities to try to isolate every infected person. Lockdowns start with buildings and neighborhoods but become citywide if the virus spreads widely.

That has caused the most disruption in Shanghai, where authorities are slowly easing restrictions that have confined most of the city’s 26 million people to their apartments, housing compounds or immediate neighborhoods for close to a month, and in some cases longer.

Shanghai reported another 4,982 cases Wednesday, all but 260 of them asymptomatic, along with an additional 16 deaths. That continues a steady decline in China’s largest city, which recorded a daily peak of 27,605 new cases on April 13.

The surprisingly low death toll amid an outbreak of more than 400,000 cases in the city that is home to China’s main stock market and biggest port has sparked questions about how such deaths are tallied.

The rigid and widely derided restrictions have led to shortages of food and medical aid along with a wider — though likely temporary — impact on the national economy. Desperate, outraged citizens have confronted authorities at barricades and online, screamed out of their windows and banged pots and pans in a sign of frustration and anger.

Communist authorities who tolerate no dissent have sought to scrub criticism from the internet and blamed the protests, including the banging of cooking implements, on agitation by unidentified “foreign anti-China forces.”

As part of reopening, Shanghai this week began requiring health institutions to fully resume services wherever possible.

Patients filled the waiting area at downtown Huashan Hospital with lines forming outside some departments, according to a Shanghai Media Group report. While patient numbers are down by about two-thirds from before the most recent wave, their conditions tend to be more serious.

Huashan’s deputy director of dermatology, Wu Wenyu, told the Shanghai Media Group he was seeing patients who had delayed treatment because of the outbreak, some from cities outside Shanghai.

“For example, a patient suffering from (skin disease) shingles will hurt very much. He or she might have felt very bad at home, but he or she couldn’t go to the hospital due to COVID,” Wu said. “But now many patients are coming to see the doctor.”

Hospital administrators said the hospital was staggering appointments to avoid crowding.

In some residential communities, a single family member was permitted to venture out twice a week to shop, sometimes also picking up items for neighbors.

Ling Jiazhao, manager of a supermarket in the eastern Pudong district, told the Shanghai Media Group that the store was limiting customers to 50 every half hour.

“I’m hoping it won’t cause congestion. Each community has two to four hours to go out for shopping, so most members will complete that within one hour,” Ling said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Respite center opens to families of those who died in combat

A respite center for families in the United States who have lost loved ones in combat since 9/11 will open Friday on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula.
15 hours ago
Downtown Vancouver Washington Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Vancouver City Council bans large fossil fuel facilities

The city council in Vancouver, Washington, has approved a permanent ban on new fossil fuel developments after years of temporary moratoriums.
15 hours ago
SpaceX Crew5 astronauts, from left, Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina, NASA astronaut Josh Cassada, NAS...
Associated Press

SpaceX delivers Russian, Native American women to station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A Russian cosmonaut who caught a U.S. lift to the International Space Station arrived at her new home Thursday for a five-month stay, accompanied by a Japanese astronaut and two from NASA, including the first Native American woman in space. The SpaceX capsule pulled up to the station a day […]
15 hours ago
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a media conference after a meeting of the Eur...
Associated Press

Turkey suggests Sweden, Finland can join NATO separately

PRAGUE (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday there is a difference in the approaches by Sweden and Finland to meeting Turkey’s security demands for them to join NATO, suggesting they might join at separate times. Turkey had threatened to block Sweden and Finland’s membership in the 30-member defense alliance, accusing Stockholm and […]
15 hours ago
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz, center, stands with members of his defen...
Associated Press

Men charged with defrauding Florida school shooter’s brother

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — The head of a Virginia company accused of exploiting immigration detainees seeking bail has now been charged with defrauding the brother of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz. The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office said Mike Donovan, the CEO of Nexus Services in Verona, Virginia, was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Arizona Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters speaks to supporters at a campaign pa...
Associated Press

Arizona Senate debate gives Masters a chance to reset race

PHOENIX (AP) — Republican Blake Masters has a much-needed chance Thursday night to reset his Arizona Senate race against Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in the campaign’s only televised debate. Kelly is coming in from a position of strength, with a small lead in polling and a commanding advantage in fundraising that has allowed him and […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Beijing shuts 10% of subway stations to stem COVID-19 spread