Beijing shutters subway stations amid COVID surge

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Beijing closed 60 subway stations on Wednesday, as COVID-19 continues to spread in the city. 

The closures account for more than 10% of the city’s vast system.

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The Beijing subway authority said only that the mostly downtown stations were being shuttered.

No date for the resumption of service was given.

These actions come as the city recorded 51 new cases. 

A man wearing a face mask looks at the closed exit of a subway station in Beijing, Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

A man wearing a face mask looks at the closed exit of a subway station in Beijing, Wednesday, May 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

A few communities were isolated in an effort to quell transmission and schools have been closed. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and gyms are also closed. 

Some major tourist sites have limited access, operating at only partial capacity and closing indoor exhibition halls. 

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Mass testing is continuing for Beijing residents, with people required to undergo three tests throughout the week. 

A negative test result obtained within the previous 48 hours is required to enter most public spaces.

People wearing face masks stand in line for COVID-19 tests at a testing site during the second consecutive day of mass testing in Beijing, Wednesday, May 4, 2022.  

People wearing face masks stand in line for COVID-19 tests at a testing site during the second consecutive day of mass testing in Beijing, Wednesday, May 4, 2022.  
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

On Tuesday, authorities continued to prepare new hospital facilities.

State media reported that a 1,000-bed hospital at Xiaotangshan, built for the 2003 SARS outbreak, has been refurbished, and city officials said Saturday that they were setting up a 10,000-bed quarantine facility in the China National Exhibition Center.

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Authorities are hoping to avoid sweeping lockdown measures – and a “zero-COVID” strategy – seen in Shanghai and elsewhere. 

The nation’s largest city, which is beginning to reopen, reported another 4,982 cases and 16 deaths on Wednesday – continuing a steady decline. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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