COVID-19: Flights suspended as Beijing raises emergency response level

Authorities reported 31 new COVID-19 cases in Beijing as of June 16, bringing the tally to 137, over the past six days.

Beijing, Wuhan, China, Coronavirus outbreak, coronavirus, COVID-19, quarantine
Beijing faces serious danger of imported COVID-19 cases, which is likely to spread in the city and the country. Photo: PTI (File)

After the COVID-19 infection spread from Wuhan to other parts of China, the country’s capital Beijing, has raised its emergency level as dozens of new COVID-19 cases were detected recently. Residents in the city are now barred from any unessential travel outside.

Authorities reported 31 new COVID-19 cases in Beijing as of June 16, bringing the tally to 137, over the past six days.

The sudden outbreak in the city is yet to be brought under control. Following the outbreak, hundreds of flights were cancelled and schools were shut down. On June 16, at least 1,255 inbound and outbound flights were cancelled. All residential compounds have been ordered to reinstate a strict screening.

On June 16, authorities raised the city’s four-tiered COVID-19 emergency response level from three to two. The movement in and out of the city is being strictly controlled, according to officials.

The COVID-19 outbreak, which is being linked to a wholesale food market in the south-eastern district of Fengtai, has spread to nine of the city’s 17 districts.

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Chen Bei, Deputy Secretary General of the Beijing Municipal People’s Government was quoted as saying that Beijing faces serious danger of imported COVID-19 cases, which is likely to spread in the city and the country.

Employers encouraged work-from-home

Officials have stopped movement of business orders and factories have been directed to shut under the new emergency level. Authorities also called on employers to continue regular operations, but encouraged remote working or work from home, asking employees to stagger their arrivals at workplaces.

Schools and universities closed

On June 16, all primary and secondary schools were ordered to stop conducting classes, while kindergartens and universities were also suspended. Authorities also ordered that traffic to parks and indoor public spaces such as museums and libraries should be limited.

Xinfadi seafood market sealed off

The Xinfadi seafood market, which sells meat produce as well has been shut down after new COVID-19 cases were confirmed. Two other markets in nearby districts were also closed. Additionally, 27 neighbourhoods have been designated as medium risk areas. The neighbourhood near the Xinfadi market has been designated as a high risk area and sealed off. Residents  of the neighbourhood have been ordered to quarantine at home and undergo COVID-19 tests.

New COVID-19 cases in Liaoning, Hebei, Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces have been linked to the cluster in Beijing, prompting the other cities to impose quarantine measures on passengers from Beijing.

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