Shijiazhuang cancels 80% flights, closes railway stations as outbreak worsens
Published: Jan 07, 2021 01:13 PM

Photo: VCG

Shijiazhuang, capital of North China's Hebei Province, has canceled around 80 percent of inbound and outbound flights and closed railway stations on Thursday as the city shut down its transportation system after entering "wartime mode" against COVID-19. 

As of 10:30 am on Thursday, the international airport in Shijiazhuang canceled around 84 percent of inbound flights and 81 percent of outbound flights, data from information provider VariFlight showed. 

Starting from Thursday, vehicles that enter or leave Shijiazhuang, including those for epidemic control and city management, must hold passes issued by relevant departments, local authority announced as the city is in de facto lockdown.

Shuttle bus services from the airport to downtown area  and neighboring areas were suspended on Wednesday. 

Shijiazhuang railway authorities also imposed temporary closures on all railway stations. Passengers who bought tickets between Shijiazhuang and Beijing will receive full refunds.

The city reported 50 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 67 asymptomatic patients on Thursday, hitting a record number of daily cases. It has gradually imposed restrictions on transportation as the epidemic worsens. 

Ten highways that connect Shijiazhuang with Beijing and other adjacent provinces have been closed, according to an announcement from Hebei authorities on Wednesday. Traffic police urged vehicles from both sides on the highways to turn back.

The long-distance bus station of Shijiazhuang, a large passenger bus station that runs both local routes in Hebei and inter-provincial lines, also announced Wednesday it was suspending operations.

Besides, buses and subways have been out of service in Gaocheng district, the COVID-19 high-risk area in Shijiazhuang. Public transportation in the downtown area is still operating normally, but intervals between services have been lengthened. 

In another development, Xingtai, another city in the province, which had entered "wartime mode," also started suspending bus services in some epidemic affected regions on Wednesday. 

The city of Nangong in Xingtai, which reported dozens of infections, has carried out a city-wide control, with multiple entrances and exits in the downtown area being closed and the routes to many villages locked, reports said.