Beijing will test millions for the coronavirus as the Chinese capital races to avoid the fate of Shanghai, which is steeped in a debilitating lockdown.
The city late Monday said 10 districts will be subject to three rounds of testing through Saturday, according to the South China Morning Post.
Roughly 20 million residents will be impacted.
The government advised people to work remotely and avoid panic-buying of groceries amid reports that people in Shanghai struggled to find food while holed up in their apartments.
A loudspeaker at a supermarket in the Chaoyang District told shoppers there are plenty of domestic goods, so they should “consume rationally,” according to The New York Times.
“Do not overbuy, and do not believe and spread rumors. Leave the supermarket quickly after shopping,” the message said.
China is facing its worst brush with COVID-19 since the virus was discovered in the central city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.
While the US and Western nations try to live with the virus, Chinese President Xi Jinping is sticking to a strict “zero-COVID” policy that tries to quash any sign of the virus.
Scientists say China is ill-suited to deal with the omicron variant because it lacks widespread immunity from prior infections and is using vaccines that are considered less effective than messenger-RNA shots in other nations.
Harsh lockdowns in China are disrupting supply chains and prompting an outcry from everyday citizens who’ve lost patience with the restrictions.
The US State Department ordered all non-emergency employees out of the American consulate in Shanghai due to the surge in coronavirus cases in the coastal city and the shutdown imposed by the Chinese government.