BEIJING: On Thursday, Chinese authorities canceled hundreds of flights, closed schools and ramped up mass inspections to try to eradicate a new Covid-19 outbreak linked to a group tourists.
Beijing has maintained a relentless No-Covid approach with strict border closures and targeted blockades, even as other countries are trying to relax restrictions. Domestic outbreaks have largely been eliminated, but as China recorded a fifth consecutive day of new cases, mainly in the northern and northwestern regions, authorities tightened controls on with coronavirus. The latest outbreak has been linked to an elderly couple staying in a tourist group.
They started in Shanghai before flying to Xi’an, Gansu province and Inner Mongolia. Since then, dozens of cases have been linked to their travels, with close contacts in at least five provinces and regions, including the capital Beijing.
In response, local governments have conducted mass testing and closed scenic and tourist attractions, schools and entertainment venues in the affected areas, and imposed use targeted locking measures of housing complexes.
Some areas, including Lanzhou, a city of about 4 million people in northwest China, have asked residents not to leave unless necessary. Those who have to leave must present a negative Covid-19 test.
Airports in the affected areas have canceled hundreds of flights, according to data from the VariFlight aviation tracking device. About 60% of flights to the two main airports of Xi’an and Lanzhou have been cancelled.
In a notice issued Monday, Erenhot in Inner Mongolia said travel in and out of the city had been banned and residents should not leave their housing estates. And on Wednesday, the state-run Global Times newspaper warned that new virus infections in Inner Mongolia could affect Mongolia’s coal imports due to supply chain disruptions. 13 new cases in the country were reported on Thursday, China’s National Health Commission said.