AP PHOTOS: Beijing life on hold for lockdowns, COVID testing

Nov 23, 2022, 10:07 AM | Updated: Nov 24, 2022, 4:53 pm
FILE - A woman wearing a face mask walks past a national flag outside a closed noodles restaurant d...

FILE - A woman wearing a face mask walks past a national flag outside a closed noodles restaurant due to the COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

(AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

              FILE - A worker in protective gear keeps watch as residents gather near metal barriers set up around shuttered shop houses that were locked down as part of COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Nov. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A resident puts on his face mask as he rests at a closed cafe outside a shuttered shopping mall as part of COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
            
              FILE - Workers in protective gear browsing their phones keep watch outside a locked down neighborhood as part of COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - Residents wearing face stand in line for their routine COVID-19 tests near shuttered restaurants and shops as part of COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A food delivery worker rides through a quiet street against the backdrop of office buildings at the central business district in Beijing, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A COVID controls closure notice is placed on a barricade in front of a shuttered restaurant at a commercial office building in Beijing, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - People stand in line for their routine COVID-19 tests at a testing site in a pathway in the central business district of Beijing, Nov. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A man wearing a face mask rests outside the shuttered commercial office buildings at the central business district as part of COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A woman wearing a face mask looks out from the barriers set up in a locked down neighborhood as part of COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A worker in protective gear holds a fan with the health check QR code as she talks on her phone at a coronavirus testing site displaying the words "Fight the Epidemic" in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A security guard in protective gear keeps watch at an entrance gate to a neighborhood in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - Residents wearing face masks chat with each other near the barriers set up in a locked down neighborhood as part of COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
            
              FILE - A woman wearing a face mask walks past a national flag outside a closed noodles restaurant due to the COVID-19 controls in Beijing, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

BEIJING (AP) — As cases of COVID-19 hit record daily highs, China is reimposing a range of strict measures under its “zero-COVID” policy, including lockdowns, mass testing and quarantines for anyone suspected of having come into contact with the virus.

The restrictions cover cities and towns from the southern manufacturing center of Guangzhou to Beijing in the north. While measures imposed in the Chinese capital have been less draconian than in other areas, normal life in the city has been severely disrupted, with no word yet on when restrictions will be lifted.

Along with the closure of hundreds of shops, restaurants, malls and office buildings, residential compounds have been sealed off to different degrees of severity. In some cases, all outside visitors and delivery people are banned, leaving residents to collect items at the gate. Authorities have issued notices asking residents not to leave home unless absolutely necessary or to buy groceries and seek medical help.

In some cases, fences or other barriers have been erected to control access. Entrances are guarded, sometimes by people in hazmat suits, to ensure only those with authorization can pass and that everyone scans the all-important health code to show they have a recent negative test result.

Those are obtained at one of the scores of testing stations set up outdoors across the city, where residents join often lengthy lines to undergo a nucleic acid test that entails having their IDs recorded and a swab taken from inside the mouth.

With so many people staying home, either voluntarily or under orders, the city’s streets are eerily quiet. Frustration with the harsh measures is growing across China, although Beijing has yet to see the sort of confrontations between residents, workers and the authorities that have recently occurred in other cities.

As the seat of the national government and ruling Communist Party, Beijing is being treated more delicately to ensure basic functioning and prevent the sort of rare protests seen in cities such as Shanghai, which underwent a harsh two-month lockdown in the spring.

Still, the city is tense and the stress is wearing on many of the 21 million residents, young and old, Chinese and foreign, who are all asking the same question: How much longer will these measures be in place?

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

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AP PHOTOS: Beijing life on hold for lockdowns, COVID testing