Beijing stepped up quarantine efforts to end its month-old COVID-19 outbreak as fresh signs of frustration emerged in Shanghai, where some bemoaned unfair curbs with the city of 25 million preparing to lift a prolonged lockdown in just over a week.
Even as China’s drastic attempts to eradicate COVID-19 entirely — its “zero-COVID” approach — bite into prospects for the world’s second-biggest economy, new reported infection numbers remain well below levels seen in many Western cities. The capital reported 48 new cases for Monday among its population of 22 million, with Shanghai reporting fewer than 500.
Still, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan called for more thorough measures to cut virus transmission and adhere to the nation’s zero-COVID-19 policy during an inspection tour in Beijing, state agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.
The situation in Beijing was manageable, but containment efforts cannot ease, she said, according to Xinhua.
In one example of the stringency of Beijing’s approach, around 1,800 people in one city neighborhood were relocated to Zhangjiakou city in the nearby Hebei province for quarantine, the state-backed Beijing Daily reported.
Still in place are instructions for residents in six of the capital’s 16 districts to work from home, while a further three districts encouraged people to follow such measures, with each district responsible for implementing its own guidelines.
Beijing had already reduced public transport, requesting some shopping malls and other venues to close and sealing buildings where new cases were detected.
In Shanghai, authorities plan to keep most restrictions in place this month, before a more complete lifting of the two-month-old lockdown from June 1. Even then, public venues will have to cap people flows at 75 percent of capacity.
With Shanghai officially declared to be a zero-COVID-19 city, some authorities allowed more people to leave their homes for brief periods over the past week, and more supermarkets and pharmacies were authorized to reopen and provide deliveries.
But other lower-level officials separately tightened restrictions in some neighborhoods, ordering residents back indoors to cement progress achieved so far during the city’s final lap toward exiting the lockdown.
That has led to frustration and complaints of uneven treatment among some residents.
While the zero-COVID-19 status describes the entire city, and residents in some compounds have been allowed to move in and out of their homes freely, others have been told they can only go out for a few hours, and many of those stuck indoors were told nothing.
Videos circulating on social media this week showed residents arguing with officials to be let out of their residential compounds.
The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
One resident said people in his compound decided on the WeChat social media platform to go out in groups.
“Let’s strike at our gate tonight to demand that we be allowed to go out like many of other compounds in the neighborhood,” he quoted one of his neighbors as saying in the group chat.
A video he shared then showed a group of people arguing at the entrance of the compound with a man who described himself as a sub-district official, who asked the residents to go back inside and discuss the situation.
“Don’t bother with him,” one person said as some people were socialising outside the compound.
People in at least two other compounds were planning to try going outside despite not being told they were allowed to do so, residents said.
Netanyahu: I will not sit with the anti-Jewish Mansour Abbas
Today, Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Israeli opposition, announced his opposition to sitting with Mansour Abbas, head of the United Arab List, claiming that he is anti-Jewish.
And the Hebrew channel “The 12”, this evening, Sunday, quoted Netanyahu as saying that he was shocked by the statements of David Amsalem, a member of his Likud party, in which he said that if the party wins 61 seats to form a government, Netanyahu will agree to the unified list joining the ruling coalition under Netanyahu’s leadership.
“The Ra’im [United Arab List] party is anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, and supports terrorism,” Netanyahu said.
יו"ר הליכוד @netanyahu על דברי ח"כ @dudiamsalem: "נדהמתי לשמוע את דבריו שאמר על דעתו בלבד – כפי שכבר קרה בעבר. רע״ם היא מפלגה אנטישמית אנטי-ציונית, תומכת טרור שמייצגת את האחים המוסלמים ששואפים להשמיד את ישראל. הליכוד בראשותי לא הסכים ולעולם לא יסכים להכניס את רע״ם לקואליציה"
— החדשות – N12 (@N12News) June 26, 2022
Netanyahu was not satisfied with that, but stressed that Mansour Abbas, the leader of the United Arab List, represented the “Muslim Brotherhood” group that seeks to destroy Israel, he said, adding that the Likud party under his leadership would never agree to include Ra’em in the coalition.
Netanyahu’s statements came against the backdrop of what Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced last Monday, that a bill to dissolve the Knesset would be proposed and voted on next week, in a step that is heading the country towards a fifth election in 3 and a half years.
Israeli reports indicated that the date set for holding these elections is next October 25.
During this period, Lapid will assume the position of prime minister in accordance with the rotation agreement, while Bennett will become the alternate prime minister and responsible for the Iranian file in that transitional government.
Seventeen people found dead in S.African nightclub
At least 17 young people were found dead at a nightclub in a township in South Africa’s southern city of East London on Sunday, police said.
“We got a report about 17 (people) that died in a local tavern in Scenery Park which is based in East London,” a provincial police chief brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana told AFP.
“We are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident,” he added.
He said the victims were aged between 18 and 20 years.
Unverified pictures shared on social media showed bodies with no visible signs of injuries, strewn on the floor of the club.
Local television showed police officers trying to calm down a crowd of people gathered outside the club in the city, which lies on the Indian Ocean coast, nearly 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Johannesburg.
Explosions shake Kyiv’s center, fire at residential building – officials
Four explosions were heard in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv early Sunday, with AFP journalists reporting a residential complex near the center of the city had been hit, causing a fire and cloud of grey smoke.
The blasts occurred around 6:30 a.m. (0330 GMT), half an hour after air raid sirens sounded in the capital, which has not not come under Russian bombardment for nearly three weeks.
There was no immediate information on casualties.
An AFP colleague living in the same residential complex heard a loud buzz preceding the explosions.
“Several explosions in the Shevchenkivsky district,” Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.
“Ambulances and rescuers are on site. In two buildings, the rescue and evacuation of residents is underway,” he added.
Thick smoke was seen in the affected residential area, which was cordoned off by police.
At the end of April, a Ukrainian journalist from Radio Liberty was killed in her apartment by a Russian strike on Kyiv during a visit by UN chief Antonio Guterres.
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