Flights Cancelled, Schools Closed as China Battles Fresh Covid Outbreak

Hundreds of flights were reportedly cancelled, schools closed and mass testing ramped up in China on Thursday as authorities struggle to fight a new Covid-19 outbreak linked to a group of tourists, reported news agency AFP. Beijing has maintained a relentless zero-Covid approach with strict border closures and targeted lockdowns, even as other countries tentatively try to ease restrictions.

Domestic outbreaks have largely been eliminated, but as China logged a fifth straight day of new cases — mostly in northern and northwestern areas — authorities beefed up coronavirus controls. The latest outbreak was linked to an elderly couple who were in a group of several tourists. They started in Shanghai before flying to Xi’an, Gansu province and Inner Mongolia. Dozens of cases have since been linked to their travel, with close contacts in at least five provinces and regions, including the capital Beijing.

In response, local governments have rolled out mass testing and closed scenic spots and tourist sites, schools and entertainment venues in affected areas, and also imposed targeted lockdowns of housing compounds.

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