Facing a second wave of Covid-19 infections, China has taken strong steps to shield Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou from the disease by enforcing a compulsory quarantine of 14 days on people entering these cities; cancelling all visa and residence permits; and allowing only one inbound flight per foreign airline every week , with no international flights to the capital city.
After reviewing diplomatic telegrams and circulars issued by China, HT has learnt that the Xi Jinping government took a series of measures in the last week of March to protect the key cities from getting hit by the second wave of virus infections.
Most of the fresh infected cases detected over the past week in China, where the disease originated last year, have been either foreigner travellers or citizens returning from abroad.
According to a circular, issued on March 26, Beijing decided to temporarily suspend from March 28 the entry to China for foreign nationals holding visas or residence permits.
From March 23, no international fights were allowed to land in Beijing, and were diverted to 12 designated airports in Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Hohhot, Shnaghai Pudong, Jinan, Qingdao, Nanjing, Shenyang, Dalian, Zhengzhou and Xian.
All inbound passengers to Beijing regardless of their destinations are being asked to undergo quarantines at designated place in the capital, where they have to undergo nucleic acid amplification tests for Covid-19. Similar conditions apply for people travelling to Shanghai and Guangdong, where all passengers have to undergo quarantine either at designated venues or in their homes.
“Those who come to Beijing by plane or train should immediately proceed to the designated assembly point upon arrival at the airport or train station before being transferred to quarantine at designated places… if anyone conceals outbound travel history or deliberately evades quarantine at a designated place such case will be made public and the individual will be held accountable in accordance with law… the quarantine expense should be self borne and the nucleic acid test expenses may be covered by medical insurance,” says the circular.
The Xi Jinping government, in a bid to contain imported Covid-19 cases, has also drastically reduced the number of international flights. Now each Chinese airline is only allowed to maintain one route to any specific country with no more than one flight per week. The circular adds that foreign airlines will be allowed only to maintain one route to China with no more than one flight per week.
China has recorded a total of 81,000 cases and 3,300 deaths. The number of new cases per day, however, slipped below triple digits since early March, suggesting that the Covid-19 spread has been contained, at least for now.