Chinese airlines have suspended half of all inbound and almost 70 percent of all outbound Beijing flights as part of emergency measures designed to contain a spike in coronavirus infections that was discovered days ago. At least 1,255 scheduled flights were canceled as of Wednesday morning, local media reported, just as Chinese authorities introduced a travel ban for residents dwelling in medium- and high-risk areas of Beijing, Russia Today reports.
The cancelations affect flights arriving at, or departing from, Beijing Daxing International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport. Most of those flights were bound for domestic locations like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and others.
China’s major carriers Air China and China Southern have already offered full refunds to passengers who could not board their flights. Some foreign airlines, which are allowed to operate a limited number of flights into China, have also suspended their Beijing flights. These include Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
The emergency measure comes as Covid-19 made a comeback in Beijing following weeks of pandemic calm. The new outbreak in the capital was linked to the Xinfadi wholesale food market, which was promptly shut down last weekend, as were several other markets in the area, as well as schools and kindergartens.
The city has reported 137 infections since last Thursday, prompting authorities to enforce a “wartime emergency mode.”
Dozens of Beijing districts were designated as medium risk and imposed temperature checks and registration, whereas neighborhoods in the vicinity of the Xinfadi market were flagged as high-risk and sealed off, with locals told to self-isolate at home and undergo Covid-19 tests.