Beijing extends movement curbs to fight coronavirus resurgence

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Updated: Jun 17, 2020, 05:40 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Many in the China capital have had their daily lives upended by the resurgence of the disease over the past six days, with some fearing the entire city is headed for a lockdown as the number of new cases mounts.

Beijing cancelled scores of flights, shut schools and blocked off some neighbourhoods as it ramped up efforts to contain a second coronavirus outbreak that has fanned fears of wider contagion.

Many in the China capital have had their daily lives upended by the resurgence of the disease over the past six days, with some fearing the entire city is headed for a lockdown as the number of new cases mounts.

Health officials reported 31 new infections on June 16, taking cumulative cases since Thursday to 137 in the city's worst resurgence in four months, with 3,56,000 people tested since Sunday.

The Xinfadi market to which the new outbreak has been traced was the capital's largest trading centre for farm produce, with high levels of product traffic and clusters of people.

Outside Beijing, the provinces of Hebei, Liaoning, Sichuan and Zhejiang also have reported new cases linked to Xinfadi.

Although roads and highways in Beijing were still open and companies and factories had not been told to halt work, authorities stepped up movement control measures on Wednesday.

About 60% of scheduled flights at the Beijing Capital International Airport had been cancelled or were likely to be by 1000 GMT, aviation data tracker Variflight showed, as were about half the flights at Daxing, the city's other major airport.

Most of the affected flights were domestic.

State media said train passengers also got ticket refunds, an apparent bid to discourage travel, even though services have not been officially cancelled.

All outbound taxi and car-hailing services and some long-distance bus routes were cancelled on Tuesday, when officials put the city back on a level two alert, the second-highest in a four-tier virus emergency response system.

That reversed a downgrade to level two from level three just 10 days earlier.

About 27 neighbourhoods were designated medium-risk areas, with entrants undergoing temperature checks and registration. An area near the massive wholesale food centre where the outbreak began was marked high-risk, and its residents were quarantined.

Kindergartens, primary schools and high schools were shut across across Beijing, as did some bars, restaurants and night clubs.

China imposed strict bans on movement this year in the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected at a seafood market in December, before spreading worldwide to infect more than 8 million people.

Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale food centre is far larger than the Wuhan market.

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