Parts of Beijing began mass COVID-19 testing on Monday, prompting concerns of a lockdown and panic buying because of an uptick in cases.
Only 70 cases had been detected since Friday in the city of 21 million people. But Chaoyang, which is one of the largest districts in the city with a population of 3.5 million, announced on Sunday it would launch a mass testing effort.
Of Beijing’s 70 cases, 46 were in Chaoyang, Reuters reported, citing a local health official.
Following the announcement, people in Beijing hurried to supermarkets and the country’s stock markets dropped amid fears of a longer, stringent lockdown, the news service added.
“The city has recently seen several outbreaks involving multiple transmission chains, and the risk of continued and undetected transmission is high. The situation is urgent and grim,” municipal official Tian Wei said on Saturday, CNN reported. “The whole city must act immediately.”
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