All schools in Beijing have been closed from today – with no plan for when they will reopen – as the city tries to stop a wider COVID-19 outbreak.
China’s capital is fighting its latest wave of infections, which has seen around 150 COVID cases reported, with 50 of those detected on Thursday.
Students make up more than 30 of the total cases, with clusters of infections linked to six schools and two kindergartens.
The region’s Education Bureau ordered all schools to end classes from today and said it had not determined when they would resume.
It was not clear whether schools would be able to offer online teaching or allow students facing exams to return to the classroom.
The city of 21 million has already ordered three rounds of mass testing this week, which sparked people to stockpile food and other supplies.
Shoppers flocked to stores and online in anticipation of a lockdown, with some stocking up on vegetables, meat, instant noodles, and toilet paper.
Beijing has moved quicker than many other Chinese cities to impose restrictions while case numbers remain low.
It is hoped that by doing so, the city will be able to avoid implementing sweeping measures on its residents.
What is the situation in Shanghai?
This has been the case in Shanghai, where the highly transmissible Omicron variant has torn through the population.
Restrictions confining residents to their homes have been in place for around a month and all schools have been teaching online since March.
As a result, there has been a shortage of food and basic supplies and hospitals have been unable to deal with other health emergencies.
Despite Beijing’s promises to reduce the human and economic cost of its strict “zero-COVID” strategy, leaders have ruled out dropping restrictions and trying to live with the virus.