Beijing, the Chinese capital, closed more gyms, shopping malls, movie theaters and apartment buildings on Friday as authorities stepped up contact tracing to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, while dissatisfaction with Shanghai’s draconian month-long lockdown continued to grow.

In the financial center, fenced-off people in various areas have been protesting the lockdown and the difficulty of banging pots and pans at night, according to a Reuters witness and resident.

A video shared on social media, the authenticity of which could not be immediately verified, showed a woman warning people through a loudspeaker not to do so, saying the gesture was encouraged by “outsiders”.

The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Beijing’s Chaoyang district, the first district to undergo mass testing this week, began on Friday the last of three rounds of screening of its 3.5 million residents. Most other regions will have their third round of testing on Saturday.

Chaoyang, which has the largest share of the current outbreak in the capital, has stepped up measures to contain the spread by declaring that more communities are at risk.

People who had recently visited establishments in these areas received text messages telling them not to move until they had test results.

“Hello citizens! You recently visited a beef noodle and braised chicken restaurant in the Guanghuili neighborhood,” one of the articles read. “Please report to the compound or hotel immediately, stay where you are, and wait for the nucleic acid test notification.”

“If you violate the above requirements and lead to the spread of the epidemic, you will bear legal responsibility.”

Shanghai people’s dissatisfaction with the city closure is growing [File: Hector Retamal/ AFP]

At the testing site, staff in blue aprons urged people to line up for testing to comply with the 2-meter social distancing rule, as loudspeakers reminded the crowd to wear masks.

Other apartment buildings were locked down on Friday, with certain spas, KTV lounges, gyms, movie theaters and libraries closed, as well as at least two shopping malls, while couriers and food delivery workers were denied access to some residential areas.

Companies such as e-commerce platform JD.com have struggled to ensure adequate supplies for residents.

Tang Ming, 32, head of one of its logistics centers on the outskirts of Beijing, said that since the first case appeared on April 22, the volume of deliveries had increased by 65%, and 80% of the packages were food-related.

“The struggle to deliver packages on time and work long hours puts a lot of pressure on our couriers,” he said.

Beijing reported 49 cases on April 28, compared with 50 the day before.

Shanghai reported 52 new COVID-19 deaths on April 28, up from 47 a day earlier, the Shanghai government said on Friday. It recorded 9,545 new asymptomatic cases on April 28, compared with 9,330 a day earlier, while symptomatic cases rose to 5,487 from 1,292.

While some of the city’s distribution bottlenecks have been eased, criticism of the government continues to mount, particularly over government food supplies. Residents in some areas complained that their rations were smaller than others, and they compared deliveries on social media.

The lockdown is driving dozens of foreign residents to flee mainland China’s most cosmopolitan city.

While there have been no official statistics on departures in recent weeks, pet movers, real estate agents and law firms say they have seen a sharp rise in inquiries, while online groups exchanging advice on how to leave have swelled.

“Before the lockdown, I really didn’t feel an authoritarian government because you were more or less free to do what you wanted, and I never really lived a life of oppression,” said the foreigner who was planning to let his family go Jennifer Li said the city has been their home for 11 years.