Beijing closes shopping mall, apartment complexes amid virus outbreak



China on alert after peak in coronavirus cases

Authorities in Beijing have cordoned off a shopping mall and locked down several residential complexes due to a Covid outbreak, as the latest outbreak has spread to central neighborhoods in the Chinese capital.

China has largely curbed widespread transmission of the coronavirus through instant lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions, but authorities are on high alert after a nationwide spike linked to domestic travel over the past month.

The Raffles City Mall in Dongcheng – also a central district of the capital – was cordoned off on Wednesday evening after close contact from a person with Covid-19 visited the mall, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

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Videos shared on the Weibo social media platform showed crowds of masked shoppers, lining up to be tested inside the mall.

The latest peak occurred during a high-level meeting of top Communist Party leaders in Beijing.

“This cluster epidemic has been sudden with many places covering a large area. It involves many people, and prevention and control are very difficult,†city government spokesman Xu Hejian said.

Five residential communities, a primary school and two offices were placed under rapid lockdown early Thursday as tens of thousands of residents were barred from leaving and subjected to mass testing.

Four of the diagnosed cases are members of the same household, while the other two are a resident of Jilin on a business trip to Beijing and their close contact, local health officials said.

Its latest wave of infections has seen millions brought under control and domestic travel rules have tightened, with many flights and trains canceled.

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