China shut down plans to reopen movie theaters in Beijing after just three cases were confirmed on Thursday and Friday. They were the first new cases in China's capital in almost two months. Chinese theaters have been closed since January, and many have gone bankrupt with no way to keep business going, and officials said Friday they should continue to be closed. The Xinfadi market, the largest wholesale food market in the city, will also remain closed.
The first COVID-19 case in almost two months was found after a Xicheng district resident who had not left the city for two weeks tested positive, according to state media. Two more cases were announced during a Friday press conference, reports Variety. Beijing officials said the city will need to keep theaters and other indoor entertainment venues if they hope to keep another outbreak from happening. The directive only applies to Beijing, but there were reports that other theaters in China are remaining closed.
Meanwhile, health officials said Saturday that the Xinfadi market will have to be closed, reports Reuters. Officials said 45 of the 517 people tested with throat swabs tested positive Saturday. None showed symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, but 11 neighborhoods in the area were locked down for 24 hours. "In accordance with the principle of putting the safety of the masses and health first, we have adopted lockdown measures for the Xinfadi market and surrounding neighborhoods," district official Chu Junwei said, later saying the district is in "wartime emergency mode."
The decision to shut down theaters in China comes as Hollywood looks to release movies into U.S. theaters by the end of July while states continue reopening. Christopher Nolan's Tenet was set to be the first major release on July 17, but Warner Bros. pushed it back to July 31, reports Variety. Warner Bros. will now re-release Nolan's Inception on July 17 to mark the film's 10th anniversary.
China was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic when it began earlier this year, but the number of new cases has decreased recently, due in part to the strict shut-down measures put in place by the country's Communist Party leadership. Meanwhile, other counties, including the U.S. and Brazil, have moved far ahead of China. As of Saturday night, there are 7.76 million confirmed coronavirus cases globally, including 2.07 million in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., just over 429,000 people have died and over 556,000 have recovered from COVID-19.