Beijing punishes officials over Covid; Tianjin area locked down
Beijing punished a dozen officials over two Covid-19 clusters as China’s capital continues to report new infections in its now monthlong outbreak, while the nearby port city of Tianjin locked down its city centre amid a simmering flareup.
Beijing has pledged to strengthen virus controls among essential workers such as security guards, maintenance staff and workers at internal dining halls.
Still, the city’s persistent infections underscore the challenges of achieving Covid Zero, and have swiftly turned the capital into a core area of focus for authorities as Shanghai’s outbreak ebbs.
Vice Premier Sun Chunlan – the top official for pandemic control, whose appearance at virus hotspots across the country typically reflects the central government’s priorities – came to Beijing this week and urged authorities to adhere stringently to China’s zero-tolerance virus approach and eradicate community spread more swiftly.
In the nearby port city of Tianjin, where an outbreak in January disrupted global auto giants Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG, residents in the central Heping district have been told not to leave their housing compounds or neighborhoods unless necessary and have been encouraged to work from home for three days.
Elsewhere, Shanghai reported 387 new cases, down from 480 on Monday. One infection was found outside of government-run quarantine in the financial hub. China isolates all Covid cases and their close contacts as a way of stemming transmission.
While the city has been officially easing the lockdown that kept its 25 million residents confined to their homes for almost two months, zealous grassroots volunteers who police housing compounds are still preventing many people from going outside. BM
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