China’s COVID-19 restrictions hit Beijing’s historic theater

BEIJING — Performances have been suspended at one of Beijing’s oldest and most renowned theaters as part of a new wave of store and restaurant closures in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Chinese capital. .

The Jixiang Theater in the downtown Wangfujing shopping district was originally built in 1906 and recently moved to its current location on the 8th floor of a shopping mall that also houses shops and a fast food restaurant. It is famous for its Peking opera performances and other traditional art forms.

Performances were scheduled to resume on November 27, but those reopening dates have often been extended.

China reported 24,263 new cases on Saturday, including 515 in Beijing. The vast majority were asymptomatic.

Despite this, lockdowns and other strict control measures have been put in place across the country, with many Beijing residents sending notices advising them not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.

Restaurants, malls and stores deemed non-essential have been closed and foot traffic in those still open has been significantly reduced. The detection of a single case or even close contact with an infected person can force the closure of an office building or an entire building.

Access to the elite Beijing University was suspended on Wednesday. People who visited a vegetable market in the southeast of the city where a case was found were placed in hotel quarantine at their own expense.

The southern metropolis of Guangzhou plans to build quarantine facilities for nearly 250,000 people. Guangzhou, a city of 13 million, is the biggest in a series of hotspots across China with outbreaks since early October.

The number of infections in China is low compared to the United States and other major countries, but the ruling Communist Party is trying to isolate every case as part of its “zero-COVID” policy.

Repeated closures of neighborhoods, schools and businesses are fueling public frustration and clashes with health workers.

The policy is also inflicting significant damage to the economy and global supply chains. Access to an industrial zone in Zhengzhou that houses the world’s largest iPhone factory was suspended this month following outbreaks. Apple Inc. said shipments of its new iPhone 14 model would be delayed after workers leaked. Local authorities have called in low-level party officials and even military recruits to fill their posts, according to reports.

The tough measures come even as the national government tries to reduce the impact of disease controls that have confined millions of people to their homes, leading to mixed messages and adding to confusion and anger.

ABC News

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