Beijing to test 20 million to avert lockdown

STORY: About three-quarters of Beijing's population lined up for COVID-19 tests on Tuesday (April 26) as authorities in the Chinese capital raced to stamp out the latest outbreak.

And avert the debilitating city-wide lockdown that has shrouded Shanghai for over a month.

People in Beijing were stocking up on food supplies after seeing residents in Shanghai struggling to meet their basic needs.

Mr. Zhao is a retired editor living in the capital:

"When I went to the supermarket last night, vegetables and eggs were all sold out. It was not that there was no supply, but that the transportation could not keep up. I went to the supermarket again this morning, and the shelves were full of all kinds of vegetables, eggs, and everything. So, you don't need to worry about supply, but you don't know when the epidemic will happen in your community area. Once there are cases, it will be closed. So every family needs to have a little stock for urgent use."

Concerns about the economy echoed among residents, businesses and financial markets, with Chinese stocks lingering near two-year lows.

"I feel that there must be an impact, whether it is on the economy or on personal employment and development but I think this impact is still a temporary difficulty."

And officials have urged residents to refrain from leaving the capital and avoid gatherings for the upcoming Labor Day holidays.

The mandatory testing orders cover 20 million people, days after dozens of infections were found.

Shanghai waited for about a month and more than 1,000 reported cases before launching city-wide testing in early April.

The prolonged lockdown there has fueled frustration over lost wages, family separation and quarantine conditions, as well as access to medical care and food.

The Shanghai government did not immediately comment on signs of growing discontent.

Beijing recorded 33 new COVID cases for Monday (April 25), up from 19 the day before with no deaths reported so far in the outbreak.

The total case load is miniscule compared with the numbers in Shanghai.