Beijing on Wednesday canceled much of its air links with the rest of China in an attempt to avoid a resurgence of the coronavirus epidemic after the emergence of new cases of contamination over the past week in the Chinese capital .
Beijing airports canceled more than a thousand flights on Wednesday and the town hall closed schools, when the authorities were trying to stop a rebound in Covid-19 linked to one of the largest markets in Asia.
The Chinese capital has reported 31 new infections with the coronavirus in the past 24 hours – a broadly stable figure for the fourth consecutive day.
Within five days, more than 130 patients were identified. A shock for Beijingers, because before this epidemic rebound, the capital had not recorded any for two months and life had resumed an almost normal course.
In an attempt to curb the new infections, the town hall has already confined nearly 30 residential areas, or several thousand people, and urged its 21 million inhabitants to avoid “non-essential” trips outside the city.
Since Saturday, health authorities have tested around 356,000 people, said Zhang Qiang, a senior Beijing official responsible for managing the epidemic, on Wednesday.
The new focus is the Xinfadi wholesale market, located in southern Beijing, where 70% of the vegetables consumed in the capital usually transit. The virus was detected in particular on boards used to cut salmon.
“The epidemic is still on the rise,” Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, conceded at a press conference on Wednesday.
“It is not excluded that the number of cases continues (to increase) or remains at this level for some time. So far, 95% of cases are normal or mild, ”she said.
At least 1,255 flights were suppressed in Beijing on Wednesday, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), reported.
The specialized application Variflight reported a high rate of cancellation of flights arriving (66%) and departing (64%) from the two international airports in the capital.
The town hall announced Tuesday evening that all schools and universities should close again from this Wednesday.
As for residents of areas classified as “medium or high risk”, that is to say those most affected by Covid-19, they are prohibited from leaving the city.
Several cities and provinces now impose a quarantine on arrival anyway to travelers from the capital.
Train users who have booked tickets to or from Beijing can be reimbursed for them free of charge, the People’s Daily said.
The Chinese Ministry of Health also reported on Wednesday two new local patients with Covid-19 in the provinces of Hebei (north) and Zhejiang (east). He also announced eleven imported cases, due to returns of people from abroad.