Beijing in photos: A look at China's zero COVID-19 policy as cases soar anew

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Tristan Nodalo/CNN Philippines

Beijing, China (CNN Philippines, November 23) — China is experiencing a new wave of COVID-19 infections, prompting authorities to reintroduce restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

Health experts said the surge in new cases could surpass April's peak, and the spike is seen to affect the easing of restrictions announced earlier this month.

In a press briefing on Monday, Beijing health authorities said Omicron BF.7 is now fueling the outbreak, and transmission is faster and more evasive than previous variants.

Liu Xiafeng, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Beijing is implementing the most complex and severe prevention and control situation as it is at the "most critical and tight moment."

Millions of residents from Chaoyang District, Beijing's most populous and largest district, were told to stay home as part of newly imposed epidemic measures last weekend.

Here's what unfolded at the start of the week as China ramped up its zero COVID-19 policy:

Fewer people can be seen on the streets of Chaoyang District as the government tightens restrictions due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Some workers returned to work-from-home set up. Schools were also ordered to close.

Long lines await those who want to get tested for COVID-19. Health officials require a 48-hour negative test result to allow individuals to enter premises and establishments.

Restaurants in Chaoyang District also prohibit dine-in services as part of the COVID-19 measures. Food establishments only provide takeouts and delivery options.

A branch of a local coffee chain did not open on Monday as restrictions were imposed in Chaoyang District.

U-Town mall in Chaoyang District was virtually empty Monday night as local health authorities discourage people from going out due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus

This 24-hour convenience store was locked down as health authorities intensify measures against COVID-19.

Chinese health authorities said the government will push for flexible work schedules and online teaching, and restrict access to public areas considered as high risk.

Health officials defended the policy, saying epidemic prevention is everyone's responsibility and it is necessary for the public to "understand and cooperate."

On Nov. 23, the National Health Commission reported 2,641 new COVID-19 cases.