Beijing toughens measures as China restricts non-essential travel abroad

Beijing, May 12 (EFE).- Authorities in Beijing said on Thursday that coronavirus measures imposed on several districts would be extended to the whole capital as China restricted “non-essential” travel abroad for its citizens.

Beijing reported 64 new Covid-19 infections in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases since the new outbreak began on April 22 to 1,094.

The rules, that were already in force in three of Beijing’s districts, entail mandatory work from home and the closure of restaurants, gyms and other indoor establishments.

A new round of mandatory PCR tests was also announced, in which people who do not submit a negative test on the Covid-19 tracking system will be prevented from freely moving around the city.

The National Immigration Administration also announced that non-essential travel abroad would be restricted for Chinese citizens.

The move comes nine months after the immigration authority tightened the issuance and renewal of passports for “non-urgent and unnecessary” travel.

In 2021, only 74 million international entries and exits were recorded in mainland China, almost 79% less compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to the immigration office.

China’s strict “zero-Covid” approach is well into its second year while much of the rest of the world has lifted most pandemic restrictions.

Beijing justifies its policy as a way to protect its older population, many of whom have not had a full course of a vaccine, and to prevent its health system from collapsing. EFE


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