As many business activities are closed, Beijing is near a standstill, and residents face restrictions. Meanwhile, mega-cities are under intense pressure as COVID infections surged to a record high across the country. 

According to CNBC, on Friday, many apartment buildings in Beijing prohibited residents from leaving for at least several days. In addition, gyms are forced to close while restaurants are not allowed to open for in-store dining, among other bans.

Jennifer Birdsong, a Chengdu-based member of the EU Chamber’s Southwest China Chapter Board, said, “Right now, we are also in a situation where bars, restaurants, and gyms, all of them [were] closed last night.” 

Authorities of the 22-million-population city have yet to state what restrictions were enforced. They have not announced a city-wide lockdown but warned that it’s a “critical” time to contain the virus.

CNBC reported that residents in COVID-hit areas are moving less as Baidu traffic data showed that Beijing has dropped to 74th place from China’s most congested city.

Local infections have sharply risen as Beijing relaxed restrictions about a week ago. The city reported over 1,800 COVID infections on Thursday, November 24. 

Reuters reported that China had over 35,000 new infections on Friday and record highs for three consecutive days.

Other mega-cities such as Guangzhou and Chongqing keep struggling to contain outbreaks with new cases surging.

Earlier, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) unveiled 20 measures for the COVID response, instructing local authorities to avoid sweeping curbs like before. Instead, they are advised to take a more targeted approach to contain the virus, boost vaccination, and preserve hospitals for severe patients. Bloomberg cites data from Nomura analysts, reporting that 48 Chinese cities might be subject to district-level or widespread movement curbs.

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