Covid-19: Beijing residents brace for new wave of disease | coronavirus

Covid-19: Beijing residents prepare for new wave of disease
Stephen McDonell – BBC News, Beijing

Covid-19: Beijing residents prepare for new wave of disease

The city of Shanghai, one of the most populous in China, has been applying strict isolation measures for its inhabitants for a month due to the increase in the number of coronavirus cases. With this, the capital Beijing is also preparing for a potential wave of cases of the disease.

According to the Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times, local authorities make it a priority to test 90% of its 21 million inhabitants.

On Tuesday (26), it was determined that three rounds of testing should be carried out in 11 neighborhoods of the Chinese capital. The day before, mass testing had already begun in the district of Chaoyang, where 46 cases have been recorded and more than a dozen presidential buildings have been put into isolation.

Residents told DW that testing stations had been installed in each community. “The biggest ones have up to two posts, and all exams are free”,
said a resident. In addition, health officials went door-to-door inviting testing.

Deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Pang Xinghuo, said that initial epidemiological tests show that the chain of transmission is basically clear. However, the authorities point out that there is still a risk of an escalation of the outbreak, as there is an increase in the flow of the population around the May holidays.

The director of Shenzhen City’s team of anti-epidemic experts, Lu Hongzhou, said in an interview with the Global Times that the large-scale PCR tests administered by Beijing will “help a lot in keeping the epidemic under control.”

According to Xi Chen, an associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health in the United States, Beijing officials seem to have learned from the experience in Shanghai.

“The number of confirmed cases in Beijing last weekend was similar to that in Shanghai on March 3, 4. Shanghai waited ten days to tighten public health measures, and ended up enforcing a lockdown on March 28. Beijing’s announcement of three rounds of mass testing seems more reactive this time around.”

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