Thousands of people in Beijing have been asked to work from home to combat the COVID outbreak

After a national holiday tempered by the coronavirus curbs, millions of people in Beijing returned to work, many remotely, with scores of subway stations closed.

As they confront the worst epidemic since the pandemic began, Chinese authorities have gone through with their zero-COVID policy, which includes lockdowns and widespread testing. Entire neighbourhoods in the capital have been quarantined over a handful of infections.

Beijing recorded 50 local virus cases, a day after the city’s most populous district, Chaoyang, was ordered to work from home.

Those in the 3.5 million-strong area who need to visit their offices were advised to drive themselves and avoid crowds.

Residents in Tongzhou, another Beijing neighbourhood, have been encouraged to work from home, while dozens of subway stations across the city remain shuttered.

In Chaoyang, some employees were observed returning to their buildings and scanning their health codes, which allow them to enter venues.

After an extended lockdown in Shanghai, China’s largest metropolis, which resulted in food shortages and popular outrage, Beijing is treading carefully.

More than 4,600 mainly asymptomatic illnesses were detected in Shanghai, the epicentre of the new outbreak.