As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, the origin of the virus, China, has canceled hundreds of flights to curb the spread of the deadly virus. The country also announced the closure of many schools along with ramped up mass testing. The measures come to stamp out a new outbreak that is linked to a group of tourists.
China’s sprawling capital Beijing is trying to maintain a zero-covid approach by closing the borders and targeting strict lockdowns. It is believed that the last outbreak was linked to a couple who were a part of several tourists. Their trip started in Shanghai and then to Xi’an, Gansu, and Inner Mongolia. And this is how the chain began in the first place. As they traveled, they came in close contact with other people in at least five regions, including Beijing.
The local governments of different regions then rolled out mass testing in the area to curb the spread. The spread was deadly to children in the region, and thus, the local authorities closed scenic sports, schools, and other tourist sites. A further lockdown was imposed on housing compounds.
The authorities imposed a strict lockdown in Lanzhou city, where more than four million people reside. The residents have been asked not to leave unless very essential. All the people in the region are only allowed to go out with a negative PCR test result. The authorities have canceled over 60% of flights in Xi’an and Lanzhou.
Because of the supply chain disruptions, the authorities stated that the new outbreak in Inner Mongolia will likely affect the coal imports from the region as 13 new domestic cases were recently reported.
Cases from remote areas
As China logged new cases for the fifth straight day on 22 October 2021, major domestic flights were largely eliminated in northwestern areas of China. In addition to the same, over a dozen cities in China’s Gansu province also halted long-distance bus services this week.
Major Points of Halt in China:
- The officials announced a halt of a few trains. These trains link Gansu’s capital, Lanzhou. However, one flight from Lanzhou to Beijing is still operational.
- An airport serving transferring flights to passengers was halted in Qinghai province as the region logged one local case for the first time in 2021.
- All the tourist attractions have been suspended in Ningxia, Qinghai and Gansu.
- Loading of cargo trains is also suspended for destinations in the Xinjiang region till the end of October.
- One local case and five asymptomatic cases were reported in Xinjiang province. However, no further infections were reported after 16 October.
Authorities announced that travelers arriving from overseas who stayed in the country for less than 28 days must take the PCR test to enter Ningxia. The travel will be followed by isolation for a week to monitor the further conditions.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in China as of 22 October stands at 96,665 followed by 4,636 deaths due to COVID-19 complications. The total number of recoveries in the country stands at 91,511. As other countries are preparing to unlock the lockdown slowly, the origin probe of COVID-19 is still unclear.
The World Health Organization (WHO) will be sending the expert team of Wuhan once again after the mounting pressure by the global leaders to investigate the origin. Over 2.23 billion vaccine doses in China are administered to date, including 1.05 billion people fully vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Chinese vaccine producers Sinopharm and Sinovac are also aiming to distribute millions of vaccines to poorer countries to curb the spread of the virus globally.