Public Toilets and Other Beijing COVID News

By Alistair Baker-Brian, May 6, 2022

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As Beijing continues its battle against the latest outbreak of the omicron variant of COVID-19, public toilets have come into the spotlight. 

At the daily Press Conference on COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention and Control by the Beijing Information Office on May 3, it was announced that one particular chain of infection, involving 40 people, was traced to use of public toilets. 

In response, many public toilets have tightened anti-epidemic measures. In Dongcheng district, 113 of the area’s 1,235 public toilets now require users to scan the Beijing Health Kit QR code before doing your business.

Moreover, in areas where there are strict COVID-19 control measures, there should be no more than one person using a public toilet facility at any one time. 

These measures seemed a little over-the-top for some netizens who took to Weibo to joke about the latest toilet-related measures. 

Throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese citizens have often been urged not to do certain things, “unless absolutely necessary” – “don’t travel, unless absolutely necessary”; “don’t go to large gatherings, unless absolutely necessary”; “don’t go to the office, unless absolutely necessary” etc. 

Some Weibo users applied this logic to the news about public toilets and published things like, “don’t go to the toilet, unless absolutely necessary.”

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The above post reads "This just confirms the saying: 'don't go to the toilet, unless absolutely necessary.'" Screengrab via Weibo

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The above post jokes "Don't leave campus, unless absolutely necessary; don't go home, unless absolutely necessary; don't eat, unless absolutely necessary; don't sleep, unless absolutely necessary; don't go to the toilet, unless absolutely necessary; don't work, unless absolutely necessary. This is beyond reasonable." Screengrab via Weibo

At the 326th Press Conference on COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention and Control by the Beijing Information Office, it was announced that between 3pm on May 5 and 3pm on May 6, there were 66 new locally transmitted cases in the city. The majority are in Chaoyang and Fangshan districts with 31 and 20 new cases, respectively.

New rounds of mass testing will take place on May 7 and May 8 for neighborhoods in Chaoyang, Fengtai and Fangshan districts which have reported cases from April 25 onwards. 

Many restrictions remain in place for Beijing residents. In-house dining remains suspended. Meanwhile, many places, such as malls, shops and elsewhere, require visitors to show proof of a negative nucleic acid test issued within 48 hours. 


[Cover image via Unsplash]

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