Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop

Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
Women wearing face masks walk by a reopened restaurant in a shopping mall as new COVID-19 cases drop in Beijing Monday, June 6, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong

Diners returned to restaurants in most of Beijing for the first time in more than a month Monday as authorities further eased pandemic-related restrictions after largely eradicating a small COVID-19 outbreak in the capital under China's strict "zero-COVID" approach.

Museums, cinemas and gyms were allowed to operate at up to 75% of capacity and delivery drivers could once again bring packages to a customer's door, rather than leave them to be picked up at the entrances to apartment compounds.

The return to near-normal applied everywhere in Beijing except for one district and part of another, where the lingered. Schools, which partially reopened earlier, will fully do so on June 13, followed by kindergartens on June 20.

Authorities conducted multiple rounds of mass testing and locked down buildings and complexes when infections were discovered to stamp out an outbreak that infected about 1,800 people over six weeks in a city of 22 million. The number of new cases dropped to six on Sunday.

The ruling Communist Party remains wedded to a "zero-COVID" strategy that exacts an and inconveniences millions of people, even as many other countries adopt a more relaxed approach as rise and treatments become more widely available.

In Shanghai, a population of 25 million people endured a citywide lockdown that kept most confined to their apartments or neighborhoods for two months. The city reopened last week, but restaurants remain closed except for delivery and takeout. One neighborhood conducted more mass testing on Monday after finding new cases in a residential compound, which is now locked down for 14 days.

  • Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
    Waitresses serve customers at a reopened restaurant in a shopping mall as new COVID-19 cases drop in Beijing Monday, June 6, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
    People eat lunch at a reopened restaurant in a shopping mall as new COVID-19 cases drop in Beijing Monday, June 6, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
    Women wearing face masks take smartphones' photos on an overhead bridge in Beijing, Monday, June 6, 2022. Diners returned to restaurants Monday in most of Beijing for the first time in more than a month as authorities further eased pandemic-related restrictions after largely eradicating a small COVID-19 outbreak under China's strict "zero-COVID" approach. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
    A couple wearing face masks walk through a shopping mall in Beijing, Monday, June 6, 2022. Diners returned to restaurants Monday in most of Beijing for the first time in more than a month as authorities further eased pandemic-related restrictions after largely eradicating a small COVID-19 outbreak under China's strict "zero-COVID" approach. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
    Women wearing face masks walk on an overhead bridge against the sunny skyline in Beijing, Monday, June 6, 2022. Diners returned to restaurants Monday in most of Beijing for the first time in more than a month as authorities further eased pandemic-related restrictions after largely eradicating a small COVID-19 outbreak under China's strict "zero-COVID" approach. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
    A woman wearing a face mask walks through a mall in Beijing, Monday, June 6, 2022. Diners returned to restaurants Monday in most of Beijing for the first time in more than a month as authorities further eased pandemic-related restrictions after largely eradicating a small COVID-19 outbreak under China's strict "zero-COVID" approach. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
    A security guard wearing a face mask stands watch at a main entrance door of a supermarket displaying a board asking people to wear mask and keep a distance in Beijing, Monday, June 6, 2022. Diners returned to restaurants Monday in most of Beijing for the first time in more than a month as authorities further eased pandemic-related restrictions after largely eradicating a small COVID-19 outbreak under China's strict "zero-COVID" approach. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
    Volunteers in protective gear use their smartphones near a testing site as people line up for coronavirus testing in Beijing, Monday, June 6, 2022. People are required a negative COVID test result in the last 72 hours to enter some buildings and use public transportation. Diners returned to restaurants Monday in most of Beijing for the first time in more than a month as authorities further eased pandemic-related restrictions after largely eradicating a small COVID-19 outbreak under China's strict "zero-COVID" approach. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong
  • Beijing reopens restaurants as new COVID-19 cases drop
    People wearing masks line up to get a throat swab at a testing site in Beijing, Monday, June 6, 2022. People are required a negative COVID test result in the last 72 hours to enter some buildings and use public transportation. Diners returned to restaurants Monday in most of Beijing for the first time in more than a month as authorities further eased pandemic-related restrictions after largely eradicating a small COVID-19 outbreak under China's strict "zero-COVID" approach. Credit: AP Photo/Andy Wong

In both Beijing and Shanghai, anyone entering the subway or an , shopping mall or other must show a negative test result within the past 72 hours. People lined up at testing stations that have been set up around the cities to meet the requirement.

All ferries in Shanghai, which is bisected by the Huangpu river, resumed normal operation on Monday. But organizers postponed the Shanghai International Film Festival, which was scheduled to be held this month, until next year.

Elsewhere, the government responded to outbreaks in China's Inner Mongolia region, where 39 new cases were recorded on Sunday and in the northeast of Dandong, which has had about 130 cases in the past two weeks. Dandong is on the border with North Korea, which acknowledged an outbreak for the first time last month.


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