Beijing to test 21 mn residents amid fresh Omicron outbreak

Beijing: Authorities in the Chinese capital have rolled out mass Covid testing for nearly 21 million residents in most of the city, as they race to contain a fresh outbreak of the Omicron variant in Beijing that has sparked panic buying amid fears of a Shanghai-style lockdown.

After testing over 3.5 million on April 25, Beijing reported 21 positive cases on the same day, taking the total number of cases during the last few days to 155.

Gene sequencing of 38 infected samples conducted by the Beijing municipal disease prevention and control center found that the virus is a Covid-19 Omicron variant, Pang Xinghuo, deputy head of the center, said.

The latest classifications bring the total number of high-risk areas in Beijing to two and medium-risk areas to 12, local epidemic prevention and control work officials told the media.

Though cases showed a downward trend in the city of about 26 million, Shanghai’s death toll continues to rise as 52 more people died on April 25 taking the death toll to 190. Officials attribute the high death toll to a large old population in the city.

Shanghai, China’s business hub has recorded total infections exceeding 500,000 since the tail end of February, officials said.

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