BEIJING ( Associated Press) – Repeated COVID-19 tests of millions of Beijing’s residents are beginning to test some of the patience as the city grapples with the virus ahead of the upcoming Winter Olympics.
The third round of mass testing for 20 lakh residents of Fengtai district began on Wednesday. Residents stood up to the gusts of wind as they queued under sunny skies, and the day was hovering high around the freezing point.
An official announcement of the test on social media late Tuesday sparked dozens of critical comments, which were echoed by some Fengtai residents the next morning.
“I think it happens very often,” said one woman, who only gave her surname Ma. “I just did it yesterday and was asked to do it again today. I asked the staff the question and they said, ‘Under the principle of testing people who should be tested, just do it because you’re here’ Huh.'”
The Chinese capital reported 14 new local cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total to nearly 50 in the ongoing delta variant outbreak. Nationwide, the National Health Commission reported 24 new non-imported cases.
The numbers are low compared to other countries — South Korea’s latest daily tally top 13,000 – but they are a major concern for the government as it prepares to host the Winter Games over nine days.
The Chinese capital has stepped up the country’s already strict pandemic response measures. Neighborhoods and buildings around the city are being tested extensively, and the local government announced this week that anyone who buys medicine for fever, headache or other colds must undergo a COVID-19 test within 72 hours. Will happen.
Zhang Jianping, a salesman at a shopping mall, said of the need for a new cold medicine, “It’s not convenient, but whatever policies the government brings, we should cooperate with it.” “We must protect ourselves from winter so that we do not become a burden on the country.”
All 2 million residents of Fengtai district, where half of the cases have been found in Beijing, are being tested for the third time since last weekend. Some areas of the district have been cordoned off, with residents not allowed to leave their housing premises or neighbourhoods.
About 90 people wrote comments on the government’s post regarding testing, most of whom were complaining. Some said that repeated testing wastes resources, disrupts work and daily life and burdens health care workers and community officials.
China’s government has stuck to a zero-COVID approach, even as others have eased restrictions on movement. With lockdowns, massive testing and travel restrictions, officials steer clear of any outbreak, no matter how small. The policy has kept the number of cases and deaths relatively low in China, but has made it challenging for the government to opt out of that strategy.