Beijing closures as China COVID cases rise

Beijing has shut parks, shopping centres and museums while more Chinese cities resume mass testing for COVID-19 as China fights a fresh nationwide spike in cases that has deepened concerns about its economy.

China reported 28,127 new local cases nationally for Monday, nearing its daily infection peak in April, with cases in the southern city of Guangzhou and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing account for about half of the total.

In the capital Beijing, cases have hit a fresh record high, prompting calls for more residents to stay put.

There were two new deaths attributed to COVID-19, compared with three at the weekend, which were China's first since May.

The latest wave is testing recent adjustments China has made to its zero-COVID policy, which asks authorities to be more targeted in their clampdown measures and steer away from the widespread lockdowns and testing that have strangled the economy and frustrated residents.

Even after these changes, China still has some of the world's strictest COVID restrictions, and the measures in Beijing and other cities have renewed investors' worries over the economy and prompted global stocks and oil prices to slip overnight.

Beijing on Monday warned it was facing its most severe test of the COVID-19 pandemic and tightened rules for entering the city, requiring arrivals from elsewhere in China to undergo three days of COVID-19 testing before they are permitted to leave their accommodation.

Many museums have been closed and on Tuesday, venues such as the Happy Valley amusement park and the city's vast Chaoyang Park, a popular spot with runners and picknickers, said they would shut due to the outbreak. Beijing reported 1438 new local cases, up from 962 on Sunday.

The central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first discovered in early 2020, issued a notice on Tuesday urging its residents to only travel between home and work.

Chinese Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan, who has spearheaded the zero-COVID policy, visited Chongqing on Monday and urged authorities there to adhere to the measures and bring the outbreak under control, the municipality said.