BEIJING – China’s capital sealed off a top-tier media school after one suspected Covid-19 case was found among students, raising public concerns of on-campus transmission. The Communication University of China, a media school famous for tutoring celebrity TV anchors, imposed a closed-loop management system from 5pm on Friday, according to a university statement released on Saturday.

The 14,000-student institution, located in the eastern suburbs of Beijing, is the latest educational establishment to fall victim to the highly transmissive virus. Two other schools in the capital city reported 14 new cases on the same day, all from quarantine, the Beijing Health Commission said.

The intensified Covid-19 control measures ahead of the crucial Party Congress set for mid-October are putting the reins on the world’s second-largest economy.

The National Health Commission announced on Thursday plans to minimise residents’ travel during the mid-Autumn festival this weekend and National Day holidays in October, which are normally key periods for domestic tourism.

The virus is sweeping across 28 out of China’s 31 provinces, based on the latest figures released by the commission on Saturday.

Tibet, Sichuan in the southwest, and the northeastern province of Heilongjiang remain the epicentres. They account for nearly half the total infections in China. The nation reported a total of 1,233 new local cases on Sept 9, keeping the figures above 1,000 a day for more than a month now as Beijing struggles to contain outbreaks.

The megacity Chengdu, home to 21 million people in Sichuan province, extended a weeklong lockdown this week, making it the biggest city to shut since Shanghai’s bruising two-month confinement earlier this year. China’s strict Covid-Zero policy is being challenged by food supply strains and public service capacity. An overload of test requests have crashed local health code apps in Chengdu, local media reported.

Yibin city, about three hours’ drive from Chengdu, also imposed lockdown measures in some key districts from Friday night. The city government told residents to stay at home and rolled out massive testing to prevent a spread. Meanwhile Zunyi City in a neighbouring province also announced three-day restrictions in the downtown area from Saturday morning. BLOOMBERG