Summary

Beijing recorded 50 COVID cases on June 15, marking the fifth day in a row of at least 50 new cases. The outbreak represents a new hurdle in China’s return to economic normalcy, and it comes just two weeks removed from Beijing’s previous lockdown coming to an end. Looking ahead, the authorities are faced with two unfavorable options: maintain zero-COVID in the face of a sustained economic downturn, or perform a political about-face and allow COVID to spread through an under-vaccinated and sizable elderly population.