[LINK] Coronavirus: Beijing goes into emergency mode

Stephen Loosley StephenLoosley at outlook.com
Mon Dec 28 18:18:12 AEDT 2020

Coronavirus: Beijing goes into emergency mode after five new cases recorded

New controls introduced in the Chinese capital as the city authorities warn the epidemic control situation is ‘severe’

Mass testing carried out in two districts where new Covid-19 cases have been detected

By Zhuang Pinghui in Beijing  Published: 9:00pm, 27 Dec, 2020 https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3115474/coronavirus-beijing-goes-emergency-mode-after-five-new-cases

Beijing has gone into “emergency response mode” after five more Covid-19 cases were confirmed in the Chinese capital on Saturday.

A further positive case has yet to be officially confirmed because the patient has not yet shown symptoms.

The latest cases all came from the north of the city, in Nanfaxin township in the city’s Shunyi district, near Beijing International Capital Airport.

  Beijing in emergency mode after five new coronavirus cases found in Chinese capital

In total, thirteen infections have been detected in Beijing since the first local infection in 152 days was reported on December 18.

“There have been many sporadic outbreaks. The epidemic control situation is very severe,” a spokesman for the Beijing government said on Sunday.

“All districts, all agencies and units must enter a state of emergency response and fight … with more resolution and stricter rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

The city is stepping up its response with stricter implementation of the rules on health declarations, mask wearing and temperature checks in public places, while schools have told parents to prepare for a possible earlier winter holiday.

Villages and residential areas in the Shunyi and Chaoyang districts where Covid-19 cases have been found were closed, with strict controls on access.

The authorities have also started mass tests in those areas. In Chaoyang, 234,413 people were tested on Saturday, with all results proving negative so far.

Shunyi district collected samples from 838,270 people, with nearly 390,000 proving negative so far.

Residents have been advised not to leave the city unless absolutely necessary during the upcoming New Year and Spring Festival holidays. The city is also imposing restrictions on entertainment venues and tourism to avoid gatherings during the holidays.

Beijing Happy Valley, a theme park in southern Beijing, said in a statement that all night sessions would be cancelled from Monday and a live New Year’s Eve concert has also been called off.

Zhou Weimin, an official with the Beijing Bureau of Culture and Tourism, said the city had discouraged travel agencies and online tourism sites from organising group tours.

Beijing travel agencies have also been banned from offering flight and hotel packages or group tours to cities where there have been recent Covid-19 cases. International travel is also banned.

“Whoever organises tours will be responsible for managing and implementing the epidemic control rules. Travel agencies need or control the size of group tours leaving and entering Beijing, carry out risk assessment and draft all emergency response protocols,” Zhou said.

He said all parks, scenic spots, entertainment venues and indoor public places can only operate at a maximum of 75 per cent capacity. Staff at attractions that do not require tickets have also been told to prevent people gathering in groups.

Elsewhere new 10 infections were reported in two cities in the northeastern province of Liaoning, in Shenyang and Dalian, as the two cities continue to battle outbreaks linked to imported cases.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Capital in ‘emergency mode’

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