Beijing ups COVID curbs, fears Shanghai-like misery

STORY: Beijing is stepping up its COVID curbs aimed at averting a Shanghai-like lockdown.

The Chinese capital closed some public spaces and stepped up checks at others on Thursday (April 28).

Most of Beijing's 22 million residents turned up for more mass COVID-19 testing.

Authorities locked down a number of residential compounds, offices and a university.

Some schools, entertainment venues and tourist sites were also shut.

In Shanghai, residents were one month into stressful home isolation, struggling to meet basic needs.

There was hope on the horizon as the number of new cases declined further.

But the outbreak in the commercial hub has raised questions about the country's official data, especially a death rate that despite a recent jump, remains far lower than elsewhere.

The city of 25 million people has now reported 285 COVID-related fatalities since April 17, from around confirmed 500,000 cases.

Hong Kong, by comparison, recorded more than 9,000 deaths since February, with around 1.2 million confirmed infections among its 7.4 million residents.

Several studies around earlier waves of the pandemic have cast doubt on China's numbers, with one released in June 2020 saying they "fall outside of recognized and accepted medical norms."

Some experts say Shanghai's low death count is part of that pattern of under-reporting.

The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to a request for comment

Fears were growing that China would be trapped in a whack-a-mole game in coming months.

Lifting lockdowns in some places, while imposing others elsewhere, causing severe economic damage and exasperating its population.

The country's zero COVID policy has provoked rare public anger in an important year for President Xi Jinping.

Xi is expected to seek a third leadership term this fall and authorities would like to avoid a repeat in capital of the scenes in Shanghai.

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