China tightens restrictions of Beijing outbreak widens


China has strengthened coronavirus restrictions in Beijing, with the cancellation of flights and closure of schools, in an effort to stem the epidemic in the capital.

Officials said Wednesday that 31 new cases were discovered Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections detected in the city during the last six days at 137.

The increase in the number of cases has fallen in the past four days and the areas outside the city have not yet seen a strong increase in infections.

Beijing epidemic has been linked to the sprawling Xinfadi market in the west of the city, which provides most of the fresh products. The market has been stopped and several residential complexes in the same district put under lock and key.

Schools in the capital were closed and taxis were prevented from entering or leaving the city.

Nearly 1 300 flights, or 70% of flights out of Beijing’s two airports, were canceled Wednesday, according to state media. Officials announced that any person boarding an airplane to take a nucleic acid test designed to detect traces of the virus.

Representatives of other provinces have also started the roll-out of new measures of containment.

The Chinese territory of Macau said anyone who had travelled to Beijing in the past two weeks would be subject to a period of 14 days of medical surveillance in a public setting.

“We are now facing epidemics with an attitude more calm,” said a local official in the southern province of Guangdong, who asked not to be named. “We have gained some experience and now it is just a matter of following procedures: sending out notices, tracking persons from high-risk areas and to encourage companies to be more careful.”

Beijing has deployed thousands of workers in the community to take temperatures at the gates of residential complexes, only a week after the government relaxed the regulations.

Many residents of Beijing has recently stopped wearing masks on the outside, but the new outbreak has prompted shopping malls and restaurants to insist on the customers to put on protective gear again.

Analysts do not think the new measures will be lifted imminently. “In view of the recent outbreak of Beijing, we expect the China precautionary measures, such as quarantine requirements and travel restrictions, to persist for a long period of time,” said Serena Zhou, economist at Mizuho Securities.

The central bank of china tightened its monetary policy in recent weeks. Ms. Zhou said the latest outbreak could force policy makers to loosen this position, in the hope of stimulating economic growth.

The new number of cases in Beijing pale in comparison with the figures in the united states, where thousands of people are diagnosed with the virus each day. But Beijing, China’s political hub and the home of the elite of the Communist party, has been in a state of alert since the start of the pandemic, and has largely prevented a crisis from enveloping its most important city.

Experts have noted that a Covid-19 disaster in the capital would be embarrassing to the Communist party, which claimed success in controlling the epidemic in comparison with the united states, the united KINGDOM and many European states.

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