Beijing cancels flights, closes schools in the face of new virus wave

Beijing shut all schools and cancelled at least 1,225 flights on Wednesday, as the city registered 31 new coronavirus cases, news wires reported. City officials have urged residents not to leave the city, and several provinces have quarantined travellers from Beijing after 137 new cases were confirmed in the capital in recent days. The new cases have raised fears of a second wave of infections as China had largely brought its domestic outbreak under control.

City authorities on Tuesday had also 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. All schools, which had mostly reopened, were ordered to close again and return to online classes.

"The epidemic situation in the capital is extremely severe," Beijing city spokesman Xu Hejian warned at a press conference on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of people in the city linked to the virus cluster, believed to have started in the capital's sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market, are being tested for the virus, with almost 30 residential compounds in the city now under lockdown.

 

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