Beijing, China: Following the discovery of the Indian strain of the coronavirus in the country’s most populous province, Chinese officials imposed further travel restrictions, grounded flights, and tested thousands of citizens in Guangdong on Monday.
Beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Monday, travelers leaving Guangzhou, the capital of the southern province with a population of 100 million people, must present negative Covid-19 test results from the previous 72 hours, according to a city notification made late Sunday.
On Monday, Guangzhou, an industrial powerhouse north of Hong Kong with a population of almost 15 million people, reported 18 new local cases of the coronavirus, creating concern in a country where domestic transmission has been mostly controlled.
After local cases were identified in the last week, Guangzhou officials ordered people of entire districts to be tested for the virus, while the neighboring towns of Foshan and Shenzhen, which border Hong Kong, also initiated widespread testing.
According to aviation monitor VariFlight, hundreds of flights out of Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport have been canceled as of Monday afternoon.
At a press briefing on Sunday, local health director Chen Bin revealed that the patients in the current Guangzhou outbreak were “all infected with the fast-spreading type found in India.”
On Saturday, a neighborhood in Guangzhou’s downtown Liwan area was shut down, with markets and schools closed and inhabitants told to stay indoors.
Except for those in their final year of high school, all high school pupils in the city have been instructed to stay at home and attend lessons online.
Since mid-2020, life in China has nearly returned to normal, with officials addressing occasional breakouts with vigorous testing and isolated quarantines.
Travelers entering China from outside the country must endure lengthy hotel quarantines, with major cities recently increasing quarantine laws in response to fears about foreign diseases.
COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF TIMES OF INDIA VIA TWITTER