China curtails movement, closes schools, cancels flights to contain resurgent Covid-19
Beijing has cancelled more than a thousand flights and shut its schools again after the city reported 31 new cases of coronavirus. France described the upsurge as ‘worrying’.
Health officials in Beijing reported 31 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of new infections over the last six days to 137, the worst resurgence of the disease in the capital since early February.
There were six new asymptomatic cases and three suspected cases, according to the city's health commission.
An additional two domestic cases, one in neighbouring Hebei province and another in Zhejiang, were reported by national authorities on Wednesday, while there were 11 imported cases.
As a result, Beijing authorities have stepped up measures to control movement to and from the capital. According to aviation data tracker Variflight some 60 percent of scheduled flights to and from Beijing Capital International Airport have been or look set to be cancelled on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, all schools - which had mostly reopened - were ordered to close again and return to online classes.
On Tuesday, city authorities announced a travel ban for residents of "medium- or high-risk" areas of the city, while requiring other residents to take nucleic acid tests in order to leave the capital.
Fears of ‘second wave’
The new cases have raised fears of a second wave of infections as China had largely brought its domestic outbreak under control.
"The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe," Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned at a press conference Tuesday.
Tens of thousands of people in the city linked to the virus cluster - believed to have started in the capital's Xinfadi wholesale food market - are being tested for the virus. Close to 30 residential compounds in the city are now under lockdown.
Here in France Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud said the situation in China was “worrying”, but that trends in France remained positive.
“We chose a progressive and controlled easing of lockdown,” she told Radio Classique on Wednesday. “At this stage we are in positive momentum. I am thus working with my teams and with social partners on a lightened easing protocol for companies.”
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