As Covid cAseload soars, deliveries running out of time

As Covid cAseload soars, deliveries running out of time

The city s rising Covid caseload triggers lockdown restrictions in swathes of the Chinese capital, which is why the Bloomberg supermarket delivery apps in Beijing are overwhelmed.

On Thursday, 1,854 new infections were seen in Beijing, up from 1,611 on Wednesday, as China s wider outbreak reaches record levels. Delivery apps like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Freshippo known as Hema in Chinese and Walmart Inc. s Sam s Club were running out of capacity to deliver on Thursday, and other grocery stores in Chaoyang, Beijing's biggest district, were no longer taking orders.

The case increase, which has escalated from under 100 infections a day a day ago, has resulted in stepped-up controls in the city of 22 million, with apartment blocks in Chaoyang being locked down and residents asked not to leave Beijing unless necessary.

Read more: Beijing Braces for Covid with Makeshift Camps in City Center.

The restrictions are being spoken in a quieter way, communicating through neighborhood committees and WeChat groups, rather than with official announcements, possibly downplaying the disruption caused by China s top leaders ordering a more targeted approach to containing Covid two weeks ago. A new 20 point virus playbook for officials advised against city-wide lockdowns and mass testing exercises, among other things, has proved difficult to implement amid surging cases.

Schools in a number of Beijing districts have been closed due to the need for students to learn from home, and anyone entering the capital must show a negative PCR test result taken in the previous 48 hours before they can enter the city.

ering public venues or going on buses.

Beijing seems to be locking down apartment block by apartment block rather than issuing a sweeping order, an approach mirrored in some major cities. Local shutdowns in Chongqing, a strategically important city in China s southwest, have left the metropolis largely locked down despite no sweeping order or directive.

As cases spread within communities, other cities had to revert to the old playbook. Zhengzhou, home to the world's largest iPhone factory, will lock down from Friday for five days. In the wake of the new directives, Shijiazhuang, a city close to Beijing that eased a raft of tests, had to backtrack within a few days and ask people to stay home.

Officials are having to reconcile their twin imperatives of being less disruptive with their restrictions while also suppressing the virus, in line with China's Covid Zero policy. As cold weather descends and more contagious disease variants circulate, authorities struggle to bring outbreaks under control, even though health officials and state media continue to reinforce the need to adhere to dynamic zero.

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