Performances at one of Beijing’s oldest and best-known theaters have been suspended as part of a new wave of shop and restaurant closures in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Chinese capital.
The Jixiang Theater in the downtown Wangfujing shopping district was originally built in 1906 and recently moved to its current location on the 8th floor of a shopping mall, which also houses shops and fast food restaurants. It is famous for its performances of Peking Opera and other traditional art forms.
Demonstrations were due to reopen on 27 November, but such reopening dates have been repeatedly extended.
China reported 24,263 new cases on Saturday, of which 515 are in Beijing. The vast majority were asymptomatic.
Despite this, lockdowns and other strict control measures have been implemented across the country, with many Beijing residents being sent notices advising them not to leave home unless absolutely necessary.
Restaurants, malls and shops considered non-essential have been closed, and those that are still open see little foot traffic. The detection of a single case or even close contact with an infected person can force the closure of an entire office building or apartment block.
Admissions to Beijing’s prestigious Peking University were suspended on Wednesday. People who visited a vegetable market in the southeast of the city where a case was found were ordered to self-quarantine in a hotel at their own expense.
There are plans to build quarantine facilities for some 250,000 people in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou. Guangzhou, a city of 13 million people, is the largest of a chain of hot spots across China with outbreaks since early October.
China’s infection numbers are low compared to the United States and other major countries, but the ruling Communist Party is trying to isolate every case as part of its “zero-Covid” policy.
Repeated closures of neighborhoods, schools and businesses are fueling public frustration and clashes with health workers.
The policy is also causing major damage to the economy and global supply chains. Access to the Zhengzhou industrial zone that is home to the world’s biggest iPhone factory was suspended this month after the outbreak. Apple Inc. said that the delivery of its new iPhone 14 models would be delayed after the employees were furloughed. According to reports, local officials have called in low-level party functionaries and even military recruits to fill his place.
The tough measures come even as the national government tries to downplay the impact of anti-disease controls that have confined millions of people to their homes, prompting mixed messages and increasing confusion and anger.