China: Beijing fortified as COVID-19 outbreaks continue to swell
The escalating curbs come after the number of infections in the Chinese capital rose persistently over the past few days.
Beijing: Seeking to protect the capital that is gearing up for a meeting of top political leaders and the Winter Olympic games in less than 100 days, Chinese authorities are ring-fencing Beijing against growing Covid-19 outbreaks now permeating in more than half the nation’s provinces, Bloomberg reported.
On Wednesday, the country’s state-owned rail operator said that they had suspended ticket sales for trains departing from 123 stations in 23 locations that have reported coronavirus infections. Beijing’s municipal government previously had all but barred people visiting the city from areas reporting Covid-19 cases.
The escalating curbs come after the number of infections in the Chinese capital rose persistently over the past few days, while the current outbreak powered by the Delta variant, the broadest spread in China since the virus emerged in Wuhan in late 2019 has reached 19 out 31 mainland provinces, Bloomberg reported.
While Beijing has seen bigger outbreaks in the past, the latest resurgence — with cases reaching nearly 40 — comes just days ahead of a major summit for the ruling Communist Party, which will lay the ground for extending Xi Jinping’s term as leader, the report stated.
The travel restrictions have also stopped some Beijing residents from returning home, in part because an electronic system barred them from booking train or plane tickets because it registered the capital as a location where Covid was spreading. The municipal government apologized for the blip, but later asked absentee Beijing residents traveling or overlapping elsewhere with confirmed Covid cases to delay their return, Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, the further spread of the virus in Beijing also prompted city officials to order snap lockdowns of two schools and the suspension of in-class teaching at 16 other educational institutions as they sought to prevent outbreaks among teenagers and young children, Bloomberg report stated.
More provinces in China are fighting Covid-19 than at any time since the deadly pathogen first emerged in Wuhan in 2019.
The highly infectious Delta variant is hurtling across the country despite the increasingly aggressive measures that officials have enacted in a bid to thwart it. More than 600 locally transmitted infections have been found in 19 of 31 provinces in the latest outbreak in the world’s second-largest economy, the report said.
(With inputs from agency)