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China's Xi'an airport suspends international passenger flights

China's Xi'an airport suspends international passenger flights

A medical worker in protective suit collects a COVID-19 swab from a resident in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, on Jan 4, 2022. (Photo: cnsphoto via Reuters)

BEIJING: The northwestern Chinese city of Xi'an suspended all international passenger flights from Wednesday (Jan 5) at its airport until further notice, the official news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.

The Xi'an Xianyang International Airport has also halted all domestic passenger flights, Xinhua reported.

China has stuck to a rigid approach of stamping out COVID-19 cases when they appear with tight border restrictions and targeted lockdowns since the virus first emerged in the country in late 2019.

China reported 189 confirmed COVID-19 cases for Wednesday, versus 91 a day earlier, its health authority said on Thursday. 

Of the new infections,132 were locally transmitted, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, up from 41 a day earlier. 

Most of the new local cases were in Henan and Shaanxi provinces. Zhejiang also reported new cases.

China also reported 45 new asymptomatic cases, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, compared with 71 a day earlier.

There were no new fatalities, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636. China has had 103,121 confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

Chinese officials have said that the outbreak in Xi'an had been largely "brought under control" after two weeks of a stay-at-home order. But other cities where clusters have been detected face restrictions, including a partial lockdown in Zhengzhou. 

Although the reported cases in China are very low compared with elsewhere in the world, infections in recent weeks have reached a high not seen in the country since March 2020.

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Source: Reuters/lk
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