Beijing tightens controls on inbound travel, cancels marathons amid external and internal pressures of COVID19
Published: Oct 24, 2021 09:58 PM
Changping Photo: VCG

Changping Photo: VCG

Beijing will tighten its management and control on personnel entering the city during the most critical phase as the capital reported five more confirmed infections and one silent carrier on Sunday amid duel pressure from external import and internal resurgences of COVID-19. 

Beijing reported on Sunday five new infections and one asymptomatic carrier in Changping, Fengtai and Haidian districts. All six infections are related to recent flare-ups in other provinces. As of Saturday, the accumulated number of locally confirmed infections in the latest flare-up in Beijing has reached 14. 

According to Beijing's Center for Disease Control, the recent cluster of infections in Changping district was caused by the Delta variant. The virus mutation also caused the flare-ups in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Northwest China's Gansu Province. 

This particular virus and that of the previously reported two confirmed cases in Fengtai district are two transmission branches of the same source. 

The majority of infections are people aged 55 and above. They are all directly or indirectly related to travel to Inner Mongolia. Most infections have high viral loads and fast transmission speeds. A vast range of areas and a diversity of venues have been involved in the flare-up. 

In particular, two confirmed infected persons surnamed Chen and Liu living in Changping have been filed for investigation by local police after they spread the virus to others. Despite having symptoms such as sore throats and fevers following their trips to Inner Mongolia, they still dined out and invited people to play mahjong together on October 16. 

After their travel destination was escalated to medium-risk on October 19, they did not report their travel history or take nucleic acid tests and receive treatment at hospital, but bought thermometers and medicines by themselves. 

So far, five people among the eight who played mahjong with Chen and Liu have been confirmed as having contracted the virus. 

The two persons in charge of the two pharmacies in Changping where Chen and Liu bought cough and antipyretic medicines several times between October 17 and 20 were also filed for investigation by the local police due to their malpractices. 

The suspects surnamed Yang and Wang did not check the health codes of the two infected persons. Neither did they take their temperatures or register the medicine they bought, which led to the potential risk of spreading the epidemic, Beijing police said.  

Cross-provincial tourism will be suspended and epidemic prevention management will be strengthened among tour groups, Xu Hejian, spokesperson of the Beijing Municipal Government, said during a press conference on Sunday. 

People from places with one or more locally confirmed cases or people with travel history to such places within 14 days are strictly restricted from entering or returning to Beijing, the official said.  

Besides, Beijing will reduce conferences and forums held in the city and all the marathons including the Beike Marathon competition which was scheduled on October 31, the Beijing Marathon Expo which was scheduled between October 29 and 30, and the Beijing Marathon Adidas Kids Run which was scheduled on October 30, will be delayed. 

City-wide epidemiological investigation and screening, nucleic acid testing and the personnel deployment of lockdown and control forces will be further emphasized. 

The residences, workplaces and activity venues of those who are infected will be locked down or closed as soon as new cases are reported. Related personnel within the range will take nucleic acid tests to screen out those with potential risks and place them under control, according to the press conference. 

Global Times