Beijing bustles again after optimization of COVID-19 response

On New Year's Day, Beijing's popular Xidan business area has been decorated with lights and has a gratifying atmosphere.

On New Year's Day, Beijing's popular Xidan business area has been decorated with lights and has a gratifying atmosphere.

"We are too busy these days, and no walk-in orders can be taken. Customers have to make an appointment in advance," said a clerk at a beauty and nail salon in Xidan. The clerk added that the shop, with more than 50 square meters, receives nearly 100 customers on average every day, and the earliest appointment is for January 4.

Long-expected queuing scenes also appeared outdoors. On Thursday morning, many residents in Beijing played in Taoranting Park with their children as the ice slides, snowmobiles, and other facilities were full of laughter.

"The ice and snow field in the park has grown by nearly 10,000 square meters this winter, and there are over 10 new free amusement activities," said Zhao Shuangle, head of the ice and snow carnival project at Taoranting Park.

As the capital will hand out 30,000 vouchers in the snow and ice sector, the staff at the park are all motivated and confident, Zhao said.

With continuously optimized epidemic prevention and control policies, the vitality of Beijing is gradually recovering.

Subway lines are flooded with commuters. According to Beijing MTR Corporation Limited, the morning peak on working days has returned to normal.

Production at the second factory of SMC (China) Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan's pneumatic component manufacturer SMC Corporation in Beijing, is in full swing.

"SMC China's operating revenue is expected to grow by more than 10 percent in 2022, thanks to the recent increase in production capacity," said Ma Qinghai, general manager of SMC Investment Management China Co.

Li Xiaorong, deputy manager of a pharmacy in Beijing's Chaoyang District, has also been busy these days. "We have increased the supply of various medicines and medical devices. Our supply is sufficient," Li said.

A key player in China's consumption sector, the on-demand retail platform Meituan, said online orders for in-store catering in Beijing increased by 218 percent week on week from December 19 to 26, while orders for the Universal Beijing Resort increased by 120 percent, week on week, during the period.

Recently, passengers' air travel demand has been growing, and the flight volumes of Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport saw a step-by-step upward trend, according to the CAAC North China Regional Administration.

It is estimated that the daily flight volumes of the two airports will reach 70 percent of the same period in 2019 soon, it said.

At the end of the year, the e-commerce consumption of all kinds of food, medicine, and household appliances continues to rise. The Beijing branch of SF Express said its nearly 400 outlets in Beijing have been in full operation.

"Now, the express logistics has recovered to a normal level, with the logistics timeliness resumed," said Ma Wei, head of JD Logistics in Beijing.

Starting from January 8, China will downgrade the management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B under the country's law on the prevention and treatment of infectious disease.

Following the adjustment, China's COVID-19 prevention and control efforts will focus on protecting the health and preventing severe cases. Measures will be rolled out to protect people's lives and health to the utmost and minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development.

"The move is to make the epidemic prevention and control more operable and targeted to better coordinate the anti-epidemic work with social and economic development," said Yin Wenwu from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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