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Beijing sees uptick in COVID cases ahead of Olympics

The Chinese capital reported 14 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people in the run-up to the Winter Olympics.

The mass testing announcement, made late Tuesday by Beijing's Fengtai district on its social media account, prompted complaints from some residents who were asked to line up yet again outside as daytime temperatures hovered around freezing.

Beijing has stepped up China's already strict pandemic response measures as it tries to quash any outbreaks ahead of the Olympics, which open in nine days. The city announced this week that anyone who buys fever, headache or two other types of medicine will be subject to a COVID-19 test within 72 hours.

A woman uses her smartphone to scan the health code as residents wearing face masks to help protect from the coronavirus line up outside a COVID-19 test site early morning in Dongcheng District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick to more than a dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

All 2 million residents in Fengtai district, where most of the cases in Beijing have been found, are being tested for the third time since last weekend. Testing was also being carried out for residential communities and neighborhoods elsewhere in Beijing.

About 90 people commented online on the mass testing announcement, mostly making complaints. Some said the frequent testing wastes resources, disrupts work and daily life, and burdens health care workers and community officials.

China reported 24 new local cases in the latest 24-hour period, including the 14 in Beijing. That was up from five cases in Beijing and 18 nationwide the previous day.

A volunteer in protective gear walks by masked residents lining up to get tested at a coronavirus test site outside a residential housing block in Fengtai District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick more than dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

The government's zero-COVID approach attempts to snuff out any outbreak, no matter how small, with lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions.

A man wearing a face mask to help protect from the coronavirus walks a dog past masked residents lining up to get a throat swab at a coronavirus test site outside a residential housing block in Fengtai District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick more than dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Residents line up to get a throat swab at a coronavirus test site outside a residential housing block in the Fengtai District of Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick more than dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Residents wearing face masks to help protect from the coronavirus line up to get a throat swab at a COVID-19 test site outside a residential housing block in Fengtai District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick more than dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Residents wearing face masks to help protect from the coronavirus line up to get a throat swab at a COVID-19 test site outside a residential housing block in Fengtai District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick more than dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

Residents wearing face masks to help protect from the coronavirus gather in line as they wait for a throat swab at a COVID-19 test site outside a residential housing block in Fengtai District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick more than dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

A medical worker wearing protective gear collects a sample from a resident at a COVID-19 test site outside a residential housing block in Fengtai District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick more than dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

A man looks at a woman gets a throat swab at a COVID-19 test site outside a residential housing block in Fengtai District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick to more than dozen new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

A man wearing a face mask to help protect from the coronavirus walks by residents gathered for a line for a throat swab at a COVID-19 test site outside a residential housing block in Fengtai District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick more than dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)

A medical worker wearing protective gear prepares swabs at a coronavirus test site outside a residential housing block in Fengtai District in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The Chinese capital reported an uptick more than dozen daily new COVID-19 cases as it began a third round of mass testing of millions of people Wednesday in the run-up to the Winter Olympics. (AP PhotoAndy Wong)