On Wednesday, Beijing reported 31 new Covid-19 cases for the previous day, bringing the total number of infections to 137 over the past six days.
The latest epidemic has spread to nine and four other provinces of Beijing, not only in neighboring Hebei, but also in Liaoning in the northeast, Sichuan in the southwest, and Zhejiang on the country’s east coast.
In order to prevent the virus from spreading further in the country, the authorities banned all residents and people affiliated with the Xinfadi market from Beijing, who are considered to be in moderate or high risk. So far, 27 areas of the city identified as medium risk and another area close to Xinfadi have been marked as high risk.
Other residents in the 20 million cities are asked not to make unimportant trips from the capital, but according to the municipality’s statement, those who insist on leaving must produce a negative coronavirus test result within a week.
A growing number of cities and provinces, including Shanghai, have announced that they will impose restrictions such as mandatory quarantine on people from Beijing, especially those from middle or high-risk neighborhoods.
Collective flight cancellations
No official statement was made from the Chinese government on flight cancellation. CNN contacted Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines to comment, but did not receive any response.
According to the Aviation data tracker Variflight from 15:00. At least 630 flights were canceled or canceled, approximately half of all scheduled flights for local time Wednesday (03:00 ET), Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport.
According to Variflight data, air traffic from both airports has increased until the sharp decline since May.
Flight Master, another China-based aviation data provider, said Wednesday that 1,255 flights were scrapped at both airports, accounting for 67% of outbound flights and 68% of incoming flights.
The country’s flag carrier, Air China, announced on social media that 297 flights arriving or departing from Beijing Capital International Airport were canceled.
According to the state-run People’s Daily newspaper, many domestic airlines, including Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, and Hainan Airlines, have pledged a full refund from travelers who want to purchase tickets from Beijing by the end of June this week.
The country’s railway officials also reported that a full refund was made for all tickets to Beijing that went from Beijing until Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the city had already suspended all outbound taxi and car salutation services and some long-distance bus routes between Beijing and neighboring provinces.
Describing the new outbreak as “very severe”, the Beijing municipal government raised the alert level to Level 2, the second highest level of a four-stage public health emergency response system, and took restrictive measures across the city.
All kindergartens, primary and secondary schools were closed, and students were instructed to return to online education, which is a common practice in China from February to April, when most schools were closed due to the first coronavirus outbreak.
On Wednesday, Beijing officials said at a news conference that the city’s university entrance exams will continue as planned on July 7. The students said that they had to stay at home for two weeks before taking the exams.
According to the government’s statement, companies and factories are allowed to remain open, but employees are encouraged to work from home.
The city also re-enforces strict access rules in all residential areas and outside and requires visitors to register and control their temperature.
This comes after 29 residential communities around Xinfadi and two other food markets in the city have entered into tight deadlocks after coronavirus cases have been confirmed in markets.
CNN’s Shawn Deng contributed to reporting.