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Virus cluster at entertainment venue sets off new Beijing clampdown

BEIJING (AP) – China’s capital has put school online in one of its major districts amid a new COVID-19 outbreak linked to an entertainment venue, while life has yet to return to normal in Shanghai despite the lifting of a more than two-month-long lockdown.

China has stuck to its “zero-COVID” policy requiring mass testing, quarantines and the sequestering of anyone who has come into contact with an infected person in concentrated locations where hygiene is generally poor.

Some 166 cases have been linked to the entertainment venue in the downtown Gongti nightlife area after an infected person visited there on Thursday. Of those, 145 were customers, while the rest were staff or people with whom customers had later contact. The entire area, along with the adjacent Sanlitun shopping and dining complex, was shut down until further notice.

The outbreak prompted authorities in the sprawling Chaoyang district to put school back online, with the exception of students taking middle and high school placement exams. Sports gatherings in the city have also been put on hold.

Chaoyang ordered daily mass testing, with long lines forming and wait times of two hours or more.

In Shanghai, 502 people have been linked to three positive tests detected on June 9 among patrons of the Red Rose Beauty Salon. The individuals involved are from 15 districts across the city of 25 million people, prompting the first large-scale restrictions since the lockdown was formally ended on June 1.

Residents line up for mass COVID tests in Beijing. PHOTO: AP