Beijing imposes fresh travel restrictions ahead of New Year holidays amid looming new COVID-19 surge
Published: Dec 25, 2020 08:58 PM


A corner of Walmart supermarket in Beijing File photo: GT

Beijing's COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control faces a major test with sporadic cases re-emerging and the New Year and Spring Festival holidays fast approaching, the Beijing government said on Friday, calling on companies not to arrange business trips outside of the capital and abroad and advising residents not leave the city during the Spring Festival holidays in addition to schools and companies staggering their holidays. 

Beijing encourages residents to stay in the capital during the holidays, and not to visit cities and regions at high or medium risk of COVID-19 infection. Officials at Party and government organs should take the lead in staying in Beijing for the festival and will be subjected for strict review and approval if they need to leave the capital, Chen Bei, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, said at Friday's media briefing.

In order to reduce the clustering of people, Beijing will strictly review applications for holding major events, and not organize big gatherings such as sports events or temple fairs, Chen said.

Cinemas, libraries, museums and entertainment venues have to operate at 75 percent capacity, she said.

On reducing risks during travel, the capital urged operators of airlines, railways and expressways to strictly implement temperature checking and disinfection.

Beijing's strict measures were released after the capital reported a third new case this week on Friday.

The new case, a Beijing-based employee from Asiana Airlines, tested positive for the virus after returning to South Korea on Tuesday. The Chaoyang district government verified the situation with South Korea and identified the employee as an asymptomatic carrier.

The office building of Asiana Airlines in Chaoyang district has been closed off for epidemic prevention and control measures.

The capital has collected 1,255 environmental samples from the building and all of them tested negative, and 43 close contacts of the carrier have been subjected to quarantine.

Approximately 4,345 people around the area have conducted nucleic acid tests as of Friday afternoon.


Global Times