Coronavirus breaches Chinese capital, rattling officials

By Chris Buckley

Authorities in Beijing placed a swath of the city under lockdown Monday and tested tens of thousands of people as they rushed to contain a new coronavirus outbreak that marked an unnerving breach in China’s capital.

President Xi Jinping had said from the outset that Beijing, the seat of Communist Party power and a crowded metropolis, should be a fortress against the pandemic, and local officials have imposed strict measures to keep infections low. Until now, the efforts appeared to have protected the capital against the virus after it emerged late last year in Wuhan, a city in central China.

While the dozens of new cases in Beijing seem slight compared to the hundreds and even thousands of infections reported daily in other countries, the fresh outbreak has jolted China, prompting the government to fire local officials and reinstate some recently relaxed restrictions. The resurgence of cases points to the challenges that governments around the world face as they reopen economies while the virus persists.

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