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Beijing Announces 30 COVID-19 Infections; Lockdowns Across City Cause Long Lines as People Rush to Get Tested

Juliet Wei
Juliet Wei covers China news and U.S.-China relations and has worked as a correspondent with Senate and House Correspondent Credential at Washington DC. She holds an M.A. in Specialized Journalism from the University of Southern California.
Published: November 2, 2021
2021-10-30-Long Line testing Covid-Beijing-the Forbidden Palace Museum
Long queues form as residents and workers in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Qianmen in Beijing wait to receive COVID-19 tests.(Image: Screenshot via Dajiyuan)

On Oct. 31, the Culture and Tourism Bureau in Beijing’s Dongcheng (eastern downtown) District issued a notice suspending cinemas throughout the district effective immediately. The same day, the Beijing Broadway Film Center also issued an announcement suspending operations. 

Dongcheng is the second subdivision of the Chinese capital after the adjacent Xicheng (western downtown) District suspended cinema operations on October 30. Both districts are close to Zhongnanhai, the compound that serves as the central headquarters of CCP (Chinese Communist Party).

Video taken at the scene and circulated online shows long queues of residents and workers in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City Palace Museum, and Qianmen in Beijing waiting to receive COVID-19 tests

The footage elicited speculation about whether the virus had reached the Party headquarters, given that Zhongnanhai, which was once a part of the imperial Chinese palace complex, is directly north of Tiananmen and west of the Forbidden City. 

According to Peng Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Beijing, including 28 confirmed cases and two asymptomatic patients. The viruses in this outbreak are of the Delta variant, which are highly homologous with recent instances reported in northwest China and belongs to the same transmission chain.

Peng Xinghuo also said that as of Oct. 30, there were three separate cluster infections reported in other districts of Beijing, namely the Fengtai infectious cluster, the Changping infectious cluster, and the associated aggregated infectious cluster involving Fengtai, Haidian, and Changping.

According to Chinese media outlet Caixin, as of Oct. 28, Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport canceled about 40 percent of their scheduled flights. They have canceled more than 900 inbound and outbound flights on Oct. 28.

A sparsely attended Beijing Airport as seen on Oct. 30(Image: SCreenshot via Twitter)

According to Beijing Financial News, on Oct, 31, the first day of the new season flight plan, “due to COVID-19, 685 flights are scheduled to enter and leave Beijing Capital Airport, and 462 flights are scheduled to enter and leave Daxing International Airport,” representing a roughly 40 drop in the number of usual flights from the two airports, which usually handle 1,100 flights at Beijing Capital Airport and 900 at Daxing. In particular, Daxing has cancelled all international flights on account of the coronavirus. 

Due to the new wave of COVID-19 in Beijing, the Beijing Marathon Organizing Committee (BMOCOC) announced that the Beijing Shell Marathon scheduled for Oct. 31 would be postponed.

The Beijing Marathon Expo, which was scheduled for Oct. 29-30, and the Beijing Marathon Adidas Family Run scheduled for Oct. 30 were also postponed. 

The official announcement of suspending cinemas throughout the district.
Announcement of the Beijing Marathon Organizing Committee announcing a postponement due to COVID-19. (Image: Public account of Beijing Marathon)