Beijing cancels flights, shuts schools over new outbreak

Beijing’s airports cancelled two-thirds of all flights and schools in the Chinese capital were closed again on Wednesday as authorities rushed to contain a new coronavirus outbreak linked to a wholesale food market.

The city reported 31 new cases on Wednesday while officials urged residents not to leave Beijing, with fears growing about a second wave of infections in China, which had largely brought its outbreak under control.

Tens of thousands of people linked to the new Beijing virus cluster — believed to have started in the sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market — are being tested, with almost 30 residential compounds in the city now under lockdown.

At least 1,255 scheduled flights were cancelled Wednesday morning, state-run People’s Daily reported, nearly 70 percent of all trips to and from Beijing’s main airports.

According to the Chinese flight-tracking database VariFlight, around two-thirds of inbound flights and more than half of outbound flights at Beijing Capital International Airport were cancelled on Wednesday, while three-quarters of outbound and more than two-thirds of inbound flights at the new Daxing International Airport were cancelled.

The outbreak had already forced authorities to announce a travel ban for residents of “medium- or high-risk” areas of the city, while requiring all other residents to take nucleic acid tests in order to leave Beijing.

Meanwhile, several provinces were quarantining travellers from Beijing, where all schools — which had mostly reopened — have been ordered to close again and return to online classes.

“The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe,” Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned Tuesday.

  • Mass testing underway –

Officials have closed 11 markets and disinfected thousands of food and beverage businesses in Beijing after the outbreak was detected. AFP

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