Tokyo – Health officials have ordered to get more than 20 million people in Beijing COVID-19 tests this week to avoid a complete block Chinathe capital. On Wednesday, Beijing authorities reported 46 new cases, bringing the total from the beginning last flash on Friday to more than 100. A section of the capital of about three square miles has already been cordoned off, residents are allowed to leave their homes and most businesses are still operating, but no one has allowed in or out of the area.

Adhering to its strict policy of “zero COVID-19”, the government hopes to completely eliminate the cases in Beijing, quickly identifying and limiting all those who are positive through mandatory mass testing.

According to CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, the spectacle of silent and empty Shanghai – more than a month its huge closure – surprised the world and alarmed many Chinese. The capital hopes to avoid the fate of China’s financial center and the most populous city.

Millions of Chinese watched in shock as scenes of chaos and protest filled their social media feeds earlier this month, when some parts of Shanghai actually ran out of food. So it is not surprising that Beijing residents rushed to grocery stores and took down shelves when authorities announced that COVID was spreading in the city again.

China is struggling to contain the strongest COVID surge in 2 years


Panic shopping in the capital has subsided, and city officials have promised to replenish store shelves, assuring residents that “supplies of essentials in Beijing are now sufficient and stable.”

City officials said additional supplies were being coordinated for markets and grocery stores, insisting that “citizens do not need to stock up on vegetables in advance.”

Although the number of cases remains extremely low by international standards, health officials have ordered immediate testing for all. This week, millions will have to stand in line and pass smears three times, and many fear that a general closure may be approaching.

For U.S.-based businesses in China, from carmakers to assembly plants, this outbreak is just the latest blow to the workforce – and it’s starting to affect recruitment.

“About 70% of companies said they had a hard time finding executives here. Another 30% said qualified executives no longer wanted to come to China,” Michael Hart, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, told CBS News.

COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing
Workers in protective suits are visible at the entrance to a residential complex where a case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed, in the Chaoyang district of Beijing, China, on April 27, 2022.


While Beijing residents – about 20 million of them – are following the test and hoping for the best, they are preparing for the worst. Hart, like many others, says he filled his fridge and freezer, “And I keep stocking up.”

Asian stocks fell sharply on Monday as Chinese and international companies continued to face critical delivery slowdowns and labor shortages due to the virus, which first appeared in China nearly two and a half years ago.

Stock prices have bounced back, but not enough to wipe out losses since the start of the week, and with such doubts about what will happen next in Beijing, the rebound may be slow.

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