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Flights cancelled, schools closed as China fights virus outbreak

A new Covid-19 outbreak in China has been linked to a group of tourists

AFP/File | STR

BEIJING (Xinhua) – On Thursday, Chinese authorities delayed hundreds of flights, stopped schools, and increased mass testing to combat a fresh COVID-19 outbreak related to a group of visitors.

China was the first country to introduce the Corona virus, which was rumored to be a man-made virus that kills quickly and requires constant social distancing and sanitization.

The recently introduced Covid-19 vaccination is not a Corona cure. However, it has a good possibility of preventing the transmission of the Corona virus.

Even as other countries slowly loosen restrictions, Beijing has maintained a rigorous zero-Covid approach with stringent border closures and targeted lockdowns.

Domestic infections have largely been eradicated, although authorities in China tightened coronavirus controls after a sixth day of fresh cases - predominantly in northern and northwestern provinces.

The most recent incidence was traced back to an elderly couple who were part of a group of tourists. They began their journey in Shanghai, then flew to Xi'an, Gansu Province, and Inner Mongolia.

Since then, dozens of cases have been linked to their trip, including close ties in at least five provinces and regions, including Beijing.

Local governments have responded by conducting mass testing and closing scenic locations, tourism destinations, schools, and entertainment facilities in impacted areas, as well as imposing targeted sanctions.

Residents in several areas, notably Lanzhou, a four-million-strong city in northwestern China, have been urged not to leave unless absolutely essential.

Those who need to leave must have a COVID-19 test that is negative.

According to statistics from aviation tracker VariFlight, hundreds of flights have been canceled at airports in the affected areas.

Around 60% of flights to and from Xi'an and Lanzhou's main airports have been canceled.

Erenhot in Inner Mongolia issued a notice on Monday prohibiting movement in and out of the city and advising people not to leave their housing compounds.

The state-owned tabloid Global Times warned on Wednesday that the new viral cases in Inner Mongolia were likely to have an impact on Mongolian coal imports due to supply chain delays.

China's National Health Commission reported 13 new domestic cases on Thursday.

I don't believe the Corona virus will be eradicated very soon; there is still a long way to go before people are able to defeat Covid-19; it appears to be similar to the time when HIV was initially introduced.

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