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Beijing avoids severe COVID-19 restrictions ahead of festive season

Beijing avoids severe COVID-19 restrictions ahead of festive season

People walk along a shopping street during Christmas Eve, as the COVID-19 outbreak continues, in Beijing, China on Dec 24, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Tingshu Wang)

BEIJING: China’s capital Beijing on Thursday issued a series of coronavirus-related advisories ahead of the peak travel season from New Year’s Day to the Chinese Lunar New Year in February, but it stopped short of imposing severe restrictions.

The city government appealed to residents to stay put in Beijing during the holiday season, emphasizing at a news conference that government officials and state-owned enterprise employees should take the lead.

Beijing reported two new confirmed cases with symptoms of COVID-19 on Dec 18, followed by reports of two asymptomatic carriers on Thursday (Dec 24). The city's last major outbreak was in June to July when more than 300 residents caught the virus.

READ: China to suspend direct flights to and from the UK over new COVID-19 virus strain

One 34-year-old tech company worker who lives on the northeastern outskirts of Beijing tested positive in a routine check, but flew to Ningbo city in the east before getting the result. Separately, a restaurant worker was found positive in the west side of the capital during a routine check on cold-chain workers.

Ahead of the festive season, Beijing called for tougher measures such as limiting customer flow to prevent gatherings in malls, restaurants, and other entertainment venues.

Beijing said it will also tighten coronavirus control and prevention measures for inbound international flights, extending its COVID-19 testing to passengers' belongings.

At the height of the epidemic, the Chinese capital was subject to the country's toughest counter-COVID-19 measures, including severe restrictions on movement of people and travel.

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Source: Reuters/lk

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