Beijing Flights Cancelled as China's Capital Raises Coronavirus Level Alert

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 18, 2020 | Go to article overview

Beijing Flights Cancelled as China's Capital Raises Coronavirus Level Alert


Byline: KEN MORITSUGU, ROD MCGUIRK and ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTERS newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

MORE than 60% of commercial flights in and out of Beijing have been cancelled as the Chinese capital raised its alert level against a new coronavirus outbreak and other nations confront rising numbers of illnesses and deaths.

The resurgence in China highlighted calls for vigilance as many nations are easing virus restrictions to revive their economies.

The prevention and control situation in the city was described as "extremely grave" at a meeting of Beijing's Communist Party Standing Committee led by the city's top official, Cai Qi.

"This has truly rung an alarm bell for us," Mr Cai told participants.

The website of the Communist Party's Global Times said 1,255 flights to and from the capital's two major airports had been scrapped by yesterday morning. Beijing Capital Airport is traditionally the world's second-busiest in passenger capacity.

No official public notice on a change in regulations has been issued by China's civil aviation authority or by Beijing Capital Airport or Beijing Daxing International Airport, but Beijing Capital said it expected to handle 500 flights yesterday, sharply lower than recent days.

The cancellations are among a number of limits on travel in and out of the city. Beijing had essentially eradicated local transmissions until recent days, but has had 137 new cases since late last week.

Yesterday, the city of 20 million people raised its threat level from 3 to 2, leading to the cancellation of classes, suspended reopenings and stronger requirements for social distancing.

China had relaxed many of its coronavirus controls after the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the virus in March.

India - which has the fourth-highest caseload after the US, Brazil and Russia - added more than 2,000 deaths to its tally, after Delhi and Maharashtra states included 1,672 previously unreported fatalities. Its death toll of 11,903 is now eighth in the world.

India has been reporting 10,000 new infections and more than 300 deaths each day over the past two weeks. Adding the previously unreported deaths drove the fatality rate from 2.9% to 3.4%.

Elsewhere, Spain's prime minister Pedro Sanchez said a state ceremony will be held on July 16 to honour more than 27,000 people who have died in the pandemic.

Speaking to politicians, Mr Sanchez said that the ceremony will be presided over by King Felipe VI, Spain's head of state, and attended by top officials from the European Union and the World Health Organisation.

It will take place four months after Spain imposed one of the strictest lockdowns.

Confining the population at home and halting most of the economic activity, it took nearly two months to curb the Covid-19 outbreak.

Spain has had more than 244,000 confirmed cases.

Although daily deaths are believed to have dropped to a single digit, the government has kept the fatality toll at 27,136 for two weeks as it revises inconsistencies on reporting from different regional authorities.

In Honduras, president Juan Orlando Hernandez and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19, the Central American leader said in a television message.

Mr Hernandez said that over the weekend he began feeling some discomfort and on Tuesday received the test results. He said it was part of the risk that comes with the job.

Mr Hernandez said his symptoms are light and that he is already starting to feel better. …

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