China reports 28 new Covid-19 cases, Beijing ramps up testing as infections spike


China has reported 28 new confirmed coronavirus cases, including 24 in Beijing, taking the total number of infections in the last few days to 161 as the capital city ramped up testing 3.56 lakh residents and cancelling hundreds of flights to stem the spread of the Covid-19, the health authorities said on Thursday.

According to China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said that it received reports of 28 new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country on Wednesday.

Of the domestically transmitted cases, 21 cases were reported in Beijing, two in Hebei Province, and one in Tianjin Municipality, the NHC said in its daily report.

No deaths related to the disease were reported on Wednesday, according to the commission.

Beijing reported 21 new confirmed cases and four asymptomatic cases on Wednesday, the city municipal health commission said on Thursday.

There were still 158 patients receiving medical treatment and 15 asymptomatic cases were under medical observation, it said.

So far, 174 imported cases have been reported in Beijing, it reported.

The NHC said there were 265 patients still being treated in the country, including nine in severe condition.

Altogether 78,394 patients have been cured and discharged from hospitals by Wednesday, the report said.

As of Wednesday, a total of 83,293 confirmed Covid-19 caseswere reported on the mainland, among which 4,634 had died of the disease.

By Wednesday, Beijing reported 578 confirmed domestically transmitted cases since January, including 411 who have been discharged from hospitals after recovery and nine deaths.

Beijing moved on a war footing on Wednesday, cancelling hundreds of domestic flights, testing 3.56 lakh residents, suspending sports events and closing certain gyms as China’s capital city reported 31 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally to 137.

Two airports in Beijing have cancelled 1,255 domestic flights, nearly 70 per cent of the scheduled trips, the official media reported. Beijing currently does not operate international flights.

The national railway operator will allow passengers, who have booked train tickets in and out of Beijing as of Tuesday, to refund without any extra charges.

An epidemic-control official in Beijing said on Wednesday that the capital has tested about 3.56 lakh residents since Saturday, after more than 100 locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases were spotted in the city.

Zhang Qiang, a member of the city’s epidemic-control office who oversees nucleic acid testing efforts, said those tested include workers at the sprawling Xinfadi food wholesale market in southern Beijing, where an employee was confirmed infected on Sunday, as well as residents living in nearby residential communities and people who travelled near the region.

Currently, the city is testing an average of 400,000 people a day, and plans to step up testing capacity, Zhang said at a news conference here.

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports issued an urgent notice on Wednesday, suspending sports events, as well as closing certain gyms as the capital city, upgraded its emergency response to Covid-19 from level III to II.

Since Wednesday, Beijing halted return to campus and resumed online courses for middle and primary school students, as well as suspend college students’ return to campus, the reports said.

Beijing has asked libraries, museums, parks to limit visitors up to 30 per cent of full flow and halted cross-province group tours, the reports said.