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Travellers from Delta variant hotspots will need a green code on their phones to enter Beijing. Photo: Reuters

Coronavirus: Beijing tightens travel restrictions to keep Delta variant at bay

  • Travellers from Covid-19 hotspots will not be able to get into the capital without a ‘green’ code on their phones
  • Plane, train and long-haul bus services from outbreak centres have also been suspended
Authorities in the Chinese capital have tightened travel restrictions to the city, banning visitors from coronavirus hotspots as they try to keep the highly transmissible Delta variant at bay.
The latest wave of cases erupted at the international airport in the eastern city of Nanjing before spreading to 17 provinces around the country – with no sign of easing.

The National Health Commission recorded 75 locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Friday, slightly fewer than the day before, as well as 32 new imported transmissions, it said on Saturday.

In Beijing, eight cases were confirmed last week, but none have been reported in the past three days. The capital is a top travel destination during the summer holidays, putting it at risk of spread from elsewhere.

As a result, city authorities have banned travellers from areas with recent cases and suspended plane, train and long-haul bus services from those centres.


Covid-19 returns to China’s Wuhan as Delta variant spreads to 10 provinces

Covid-19 returns to China’s Wuhan as Delta variant spreads to 10 provinces

The capital’s Covid-19 prevention and control team said anyone from Beijing in those high-risk areas would receive a “yellow code” from the authorities via a mobile phone app, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Saturday.

Travellers would only be allowed to return home when their codes turned green, which would happen after that area had “zero new infections” for 14 days, the report said.

Those returning to Beijing would also have to undergo a further 14 days of quarantine and a series of coronavirus tests, reporting the health condition to their employer or district neighbourhood each day.

Last week, the Beijing municipal committee of the Communist Party said anyone from Beijing who was in a high-risk province would not be able to return until they had completed 14 days of health monitoring and a negative coronavirus test 48 hours before boarding a flight or train.

Coronavirus: China sticks to ‘zero tolerance’ stand on Delta variant

Authorities say that more than 18 million people in Beijing, or 82 per cent of its total population, are fully vaccinated, along with 34,000 foreign nationals and 12,000 people from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, according to state-run China News Service.

By Friday, nearly 1.76 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine had been administered around the country, according to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

But it is still a long way from reaching herd immunity for China’s 1.4 billion people.


The global spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19

The global spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19

In Nanjing, several officials have been punished over their roles in the outbreak.

A notice posted by the party discipline commission of Jiangsu province said three Nanjing airport officials responsible for overall management, emergency work and ground service at the facility were investigated for dereliction of duty.

Fang Zhongyou, the party chief of Nanjing’s health commission, was removed, the notice said.

Nanjing deputy mayor Hu Wanjin was given a demerit, and another district official was given a warning.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Beijing tightens travel norms