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Beijing Steps Up Covid Restrictions as Outbreak Persists

What’s new: Beijing rolled out new measures to tighten up virus screening as the city races to contain a Covid-19 outbreak driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Starting Thursday, people need to provide negative nucleic acid test results conducted within 48 hours to enter public venues across the city, officials said Wednesday at a press briefing.

Taxis and ride-hailing services were told to avoid traveling across multiple districts and regions in the city where infection risks are believed to be higher.

In addition, Beijing will expand the use of rapid antigen tests to screen certain groups of people with higher exposure to the virus, including staffers at hotels, medical facilities, transportation systems and delivery services.

The context: Beijing reported 56 new infections over the previous 24 hours, a disease official said Wednesday. All the cases were detected among people under quarantine.

The capital city went on high alert and ramped up control measures as the latest wave of outbreak started earlier this month. The city postponed school reopenings, closed indoor entertainment venues and told most people in the northeast district Chaoyang to work from home.

Free and mandatory Covid tests were introduced in the city of 22 million on a regular basis.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bob.simison@caixin.com)

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