Beijing cancels more than 1,200 flights due to new coronavirus epidemic

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On Wednesday, China canceled more than 1,200 flights to and from the capital, Beijing, as it faced yet another “extremely serious” outbreak of food-related coronavirus.The number of confirmed cases in the capital has reached 137 in the past week after two months of no cases, and four other provinces have revealed cases linked to the Beijing cluster.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the authorities have closed 11 markets and all the schools – most of which have already reopened – and banned residents of the city’s “medium and high risk” districts.

The official threat of contagion level has also been raised from level 3 to level 2 – just 10 days after it drops.

“It really sounded the alarm,” said Cai Qi, secretary of the Communist Party of Beijing, at a meeting of the standing committee on the “extremely serious” concerns of the new outbreak.

Employees of China Eastern Airlines redirect passengers to a checkpoint at Beijing Capital Airport today.
Employees of China Eastern Airlines redirect passengers to a checkpoint at Beijing Capital Airport today.Ng Han Guan / AP

The Communist Party’s Global Times website reported that 1,255 flights to and from the capital’s two main airports were cut on Wednesday morning. That represents 67 percent of outbound flights and 68 percent of inbound flights to the city of 20 million people, the newspaper said.

“The risk of the spread of the epidemic is enormous and it is difficult to control it,” Pang Xinghuo, a senior disease control official, told a news conference.

” [We] cannot rule out the possibility that the number of cases will persist for some time, “she warned.

Traces of the virus were found on a cutting board for salmon in the Xinfadi food market, raising concerns about the hygiene of the imported fish, AFP said. Many restaurants and supermarkets have stopped selling imported salmon despite unfounded fears, according to AFP.

Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told public television CCTV on Monday that the pathogen “most resembles viral strains in Europe, which does not mean that ‘It comes from Europe,’ AFP reported.

The market has welcomed more than 200,000 visitors since May 30 and is much larger than that of Wuhan where the new coronavirus was detected for the first time.

With post wires

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