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Beijing districts shut schools as China COVID cases rise

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School children in China COVID

Students in schools across several Beijing districts buckled down for online classes on Monday after officials called for residents in some of its hardest-hit areas to stay home, as COVID cases in China’s capital and nationally ticked higher.

China is fighting numerous COVID-19 flare-ups, from Zhengzhou in central Henan province to Chongqing in the southwest. It reported 26,824 new local cases for Sunday, nearing the country’s daily pandemic peak in April.

It also recorded two deaths in Beijing, up from one on Saturday, which was China’s first since late May.

Guangzhou, a southern city of nearly 19 million people that is battling the largest of China’s recent outbreaks, ordered a five-day lockdown for Baiyun, its most populous district. It also suspended dine-in services and shut night clubs and theatres in the city’s main business district.

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The latest wave is testing China’s resolve to stick to adjustments it has made to its zero-COVID policy, which calls for cities to be more targeted in their clampdown measures and steer away from widespread lockdowns and testing that have strangled the economy and frustrated residents.

Asian share markets and oil prices slipped on Monday as investors fretted about the economic fallout from the intensifying COVID situation in China, with the risk aversion benefiting bonds and the dollar.

Beijing reported 962 new infections, up from 621 a day earlier. Its sprawling Chaoyang district, home to 3.5 million people, urged residents to stay home, with schools going online.

Streets were quiet with residents urged to work from home. Stores other than those selling groceries appeared mostly shut.

“You can’t go anywhere. Everything’s closed. Customers cannot come, either. What can you do? You can do nothing,” said Jia Xi, 32, a medical industry salesman.

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Some schools in Haidian, Dongcheng and Xicheng districts also halted in-person teaching.

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