Beijing tightens COVID measures and orders school closures | World

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in Beijing are closing all schools in the city in a further tightening of COVID-19 restrictions as China’s capital seeks to prevent a further outbreak.

The city of 21 million people has ordered three rounds of mass testing in advance this week, with the third due to take place on Friday.

On Thursday, the city’s Office of Education ordered all schools to suspend classes beginning Friday and said it has not yet determined when classes will resume.

It’s also unclear whether schools will be able to offer classes online or allow students who are about to take crucial exams to return to class.

Beijing announced 50 new infections on Thursday, two of them asymptomatic, bringing the total for the latest wave of infections to around 150.

Pupils account for more than 30% of the total cases, with groups linked to six schools and two kindergartens in Chaoyang.

Also on Thursday, residents of two housing complexes in Beijing’s Chaoyang district were ordered to stay in lockdown and some clinics and businesses were closed.

Beijing has moved faster than many Chinese cities to impose restrictions while the number of cases remains low and the scale of the coronavirus outbreak remains manageable.

The goal is to avoid the kind of clampdown imposed in Shanghai, where the highly transmissible omicron variant has swept through the city of 25 million people. The restrictions keeping many Shanghai residents confined to their homes are now in their fourth week and all schools have been conducting classes online since last month.

The strict measures have caused anger and frustration at the shortage of food and basic supplies, the inability of hospitals to deal with other health emergencies and poor conditions at centralized quarantine sites where anyone who tests positive or has contact must be sent. with a positive case.

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