Beijing restricts public transport as COVID spreads

STORY: Dozens of metro stations and bus routes have been closed in Beijing as the Chinese capital struggles to contain COVID-19.

According to service providers, more than 60 subway stations, about 15% of the network, and 158 bus routes, have been closed.

Most of the suspended stations and routes are in the Chaoyang district, the epicenter of Beijing's outbreak.

The city is trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 and avoid the fate of Shanghai where millions of residents have been under strict lockdown for more than a month.

But nonetheless, residents like 52-year-old Mr. Ye, are concerned.

"This certainly affects our way of traveling and commuting, on this aspect we are doing our best to overcome the problem. We have to figure out different solutions, like going to work on a bicycle or waking up earlier to walk to work, or we have to think of other ways, like taking the bus. About other aspects, there is not much we can do to overcome it, but to collaborate. It definitely affects us in our commute to work, but we can only collaborate and accommodate.”

With dozens of new cases a day, Beijing is hoping mass testing will find and isolate the virus before it spreads.

Beijing officials also said closures of schools, restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues - as well as some businesses and residential buildings would be extended.

Yet another resident, Mr Zhang, is doubtful over the policy.

“I think there will be consequences to this situation, and I am worried that if the pandemic keeps going this way will affect our income and some aspects of our job, like not being able to carry out planned projects.”

Although Beijing’s caseload remains modest by global standards - with 46 new symptomatic cases reported on Tuesday (May 3), the fast spreading Omicron variant is proving to be a vital test of China's strategy to eliminate all COVID transmission.

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