Beijing inbound travelers face tighter restrictions
Beijing tightened curbs on inbound travelers ahead of the peak Lunar New Year travel season kicking off on Thursday, requiring negative COVID-19 test results even from individuals arriving from China’s low-risk areas.
People from low-risk areas in China arriving between January 28 and March 15 must show negative results for COVID-19 tests taken within seven days before entry, Xu Hejian, spokesman of the Beijing city government, said on Wednesday.
Visitors from areas of high- or medium-risk areas where infections have been found, or from cities that are under lockdown, will not be allowed to enter Beijing, according to existing rules.
After arrival, travelers who are allowed in must monitor their health for signs of infection for 14 days, though they will be allowed to move freely, and COVID-19 tests will also be performed on the seventh and 14th day, Xu said.
The tighter measures come even as China’s mainland recorded its lowest daily increase in COVID-19 cases in more than two weeks. The curbs will also overlap with the start of China’s annual parliamentary meeting in Beijing on March 5.
Earlier on Wednesday, the National Health Commission said 75 new confirmed cases were reported in China’s mainland on January 26, down from 82 a day earlier. That was the lowest single-day rise since January 11, suggesting aggressive measures implemented to curb a resurgence of the disease are working.
Fifty-five of the new cases were local transmissions, with the remaining 20 classified as imported cases.
More than half the locally transmitted cases were reported in the northeastern Heilongjiang Province. Fourteen cases were reported in neighboring Jilin Province, seven in Hebei Province, which surrounds Beijing, and four in the capital itself.
Authorities across the country have rolled out measures including home quarantine, travel curbs and mass testing in a bid to contain the disease ahead of the holiday.
Government officials have repeatedly urged people to refrain from taking unnecessary trips and stay put during the holiday break. Those who press on with their trips must present a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test result taken seven days before returning home.