Beijing tightens entry rules as COVID cases rise

STORY: China's capital warned Monday (November 21) it was facing its most severe test of the global health crisis.

Beijing is fighting a rise in infections - reporting 962 new infections on Sunday (November 20).

China also recored its first deaths over the weekend since May.

Beijing shut businesses and schools in hard-hit districts, and tightened rules for entering the city.

Jia Xi is a local in the area.

“You can’t go anywhere. Everything’s closed. Customers cannot come either. What can you do? You can do nothing.”

The latest wave has tested China's resolve to stick to changes made to its zero-tolerance policy.

The government has called for cities to be more targeted in clampdown measures.

It also wanted to avoid widespread lockdowns which had frustrated locals and hurt the economy.

Several Chinese cities began cutting routine community testing last week.

That led to speculation that it could be a test bed for policy relaxation.

China's recent efforts to make its curbs more targeted had sparked investor hopes of a more significant easing.

Many analysts expect such a shift to begin only in March or April.

But Asian share markets and oil prices fell on Monday as investors worried about the new curbs.

Besides Beijing, Guangzhou has introduced a five-day lockdown in its most populous district, while another city reintroduced mass testing.