People wait in line to be tested for the Covid-19 at a swab collection site in Beijing. AFP
The five-day break is typically one of China's busiest travel periods, but the country's worst Covid resurgence since early in the pandemic is likely to keep people home.
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Faced with the highly transmissible Omicron variant, Chinese officials have doubled down on their zero-Covid policy, quashing virus clusters through mass testing and lockdowns.
Despite mounting economic costs and public frustration, Beijing announced it would further restrict access to public spaces after the holiday period.
A health worker stands near tents at a makeshift nucleic acid testing site in Beijing, China. Reuters
Starting May 5, a negative Covid test taken within the past week will be needed to enter "all kinds of public areas and to take public transport", according to a notice on the city's official WeChat page.
For activities such as sporting events and group travel, participants will also need to show a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours, along with proof of "full vaccination," according to the new rules.
China reported over 10,700 domestic Covid cases on Saturday, including asymptomatic ones, with most in economic engine Shanghai.
An elderly woman has a sample taken to be tested for the Covid-19 at a swab collection site in Beijing. AFP
The eastern metropolis, sealed off for around a month after becoming the epicentre of the latest outbreak, tallied more than 10,100 cases on Saturday, about half the daily load it recorded earlier in the month.
In Beijing, cases nudged up to 54, according to the National Health Commission.
The capital will make Covid testing free for residents starting Tuesday, state media said.
The domestic outbreak in China — where the disease first emerged last year -- had largely been brought under control but then a fresh batch of cases was detected in the capital last week.
Anyone who has been near the Xinfad market since May 30, along with their close contacts, will be quarantined at home for 14 days and tested at least twice, said city government official Zhang Ge.
Concern is growing of a second wave of the pandemic, which has infected more than 7.66 million people worldwide and killed more than 420,000, even in many countries that seemed to have curbed its spread.
The highest daily figure since April, as concerns grew about a resurgence of the disease. The domestic outbreak in China had been brought largely under control through strict lockdowns that were imposed early this year — but a new outbreak has been linked to a meat and vegetable market in south Beijing.
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