Beijing today closed dozens of subway stations to curb traffic and tackle Covid-19, even though the city of 21 million has only a few dozen daily cases.
China, which has largely managed to control the pandemic for two years, is facing its worst epidemic in recent weeks.
The majority of cases are recorded in Shanghai where residents have been in lockdown for over a month. In the financial capital of the country, every resident who is positive for the coronavirus is sent to one of the quarantine centers, where poor health conditions usually prevail.
Residents of the capital, where 51 new cases were announced today, fear that their city will in turn find itself in a lockdown. The residential complexes where infections are recorded are ‘locked’ in order for the residents not to leave them.
During Labor Day, a time when the Chinese usually travel, tourist spots were almost deserted. Restaurants are barred from serving customers and residents have begun stockpiling food and basic necessities as they fear a possible lockdown.
The Beijing Metro announced today the closure of about 40 stations – about 14% of the network – many of which are close to lockdown zones, according to an announcement on the WeChat platform.
“The entrances and exits of the stations will be closed, but the transfer (to another line) can be done inside the stations,” the announcement said.
“I think the city is already half-restricted,” said a Beijing resident who spoke on condition of anonymity and whose apartment he lives in has been cordoned off by authorities. “and more points are being sealed,” he told AFP.
Another resident, aged 35, said he was shopping online to avoid any contact with other residents in the supermarket.
“No one can really say how long the restrictions will last; but I understand the logic,” he said.