BEIJING, Nov. 3 (Reuters) – China’s new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases spiked to a near three-month high and tighter curbs to contain the spread are expected in the capital Beijing ahead of a key meeting of the highest officials members of the Communist Party next week.
The National Health Commission on Wednesday confirmed 93 new local symptomatic cases for Nov. 2, up from 54 a day earlier and the highest daily count since Aug. 9 at the height of the last major outbreak in China.
Beijing reported nine new local infections, the largest single-day increase in the capital this year.
While new daily cases in Beijing since late October have remained very modest compared to outside China, the country’s zero-tolerance policy has led to the imposition of strict measures to contain the spread of the virus at all costs.
Temperature screening has been set up at the entrances of shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels, cinemas and metro stations, while a legion of staff on site checks the health codes of visitors on their mobile phones.
Beijing authorities have also repeatedly told residents not to travel out of the city, postpone weddings, simplify funeral arrangements and cut back on all non-essential gatherings.
Of the flights scheduled for Wednesday at Beijing Daxing Airport, 60.4% as of the morning have been cancelled, while 49.8% of flights at Beijing Capital International Airport (0694.HK) have been cancelled.
Air China (601111.SS) offers free cancellations for flights to and from Beijing until December 1.
The rise in the number of infections in Beijing comes as more than 300 members of the Communist Party’s Central Committee prepare for a large closed-door meeting on November 8-11. It will be the sixth and penultimate plenum of the five-year committee before the next major party congress in 2022.
During the plenary, President Xi Jinping is expected to push through a resolution that will strengthen his authority and legacy and strengthen his advocacy for a precedent-breaking third term starting next year. read more
Outside of Beijing, new local infections were reported to the north, northeast and northwest in provinces and areas including Heilongjiang, Hebei, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Qinghai.
New cases were also seen in southwestern China, Chongqing Municipality and Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.
Jiangxi southern province reported two new cases.
Airlines including China Southern Airlines (600029.SS), Air China and China Eastern Airlines (600115.SS) are offering free cancellations for flights to and from some of the COVID-affected cities, including Chongqing and Chengdu.
Including cases imported from abroad, China reported 109 new confirmed infections for Nov. 2, compared to 71 a day earlier.
As of November 2, mainland China had 97,423 confirmed cases.
Reporting by Ryan Woo, Liangping Gao and Stella Qiu Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Michael Perry and Lincoln Feast.
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