China: Pandemic Suspends Flights from Southern Shenzhen to Beijing

An airport worker walks along Daxing Airport in Beijing on February 8, 2021, ahead of Lunar New Year, which falls on February 12. (Photo by JADE GAO / AFP) (Photo by JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)
JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese government authorities suspended direct flights from Shenzhen to Beijing on Wednesday until at least July 1, as the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and its surrounding province, Guangdong, fight to contain a surge in Chinese coronavirus infections.

“A Shenzhen government official who declined to be identified and two airline representatives confirmed flights from Shenzhen to the capital had been suspended,” Reuters reported on June 23, adding it further confirmed the flight suspension after consulting Chinese flight booking apps.

Authorities in charge of Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport on June 19 barred anyone from entering the site’s premises without first presenting a negative Chinese coronavirus test taken within 48 hours before entry, Reuters reported at the time. The guidelines appeared on the official Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport WeChat page, according to the news agency. WeChat is a Chinese messaging and social media app.

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport canceled more than 400 flights on June 18 after a staff member at a restaurant inside the airport tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus.

“As of 14:25 [2:25 pm] on Friday [June 18], the cancelled arriving and departing flights (including the cancellations on Friday and cancellations in advance) accounted for around 40 percent of the total number of flights at the airport [sic],” the Chinese flight tracker VariFlight told China’s state-run Global Times.

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport is located 60 miles southeast of Guangzhou, which is the capital of Guangdong province and the epicenter of a recent Chinese coronavirus outbreak across Guangdong. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport — which claimed to be the world’s busiest airport in 2020 — has canceled several hundred flights per day since May 30 due to Guangzhou’s latest coronavirus epidemic, which was first detected on May 21 and quickly spread to the neighboring cities of Foshan and Maoming.

“The airport in Foshan city, which borders Guangzhou and has seen 12 cases in the last month, announced that it was suspending all flights until July 7 due to the pandemic,” Reuters reported on June 23.

Guangdong’s health commission recorded five new Chinese coronavirus cases in the province on June 21, and an additional two cases on June 22, according to China’s official state-run press agency, Xinhua.

“The cases were reported in the cities of Shenzhen and Dongguan, respectively, according to the health commission,” Xinhua wrote of Guangdong’s latest infections on June 22.

“By Monday [June 20], Guangdong had reported a total of 2,706 confirmed COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] cases,” Xinhua noted Tuesday, adding that “[c]urrently, 221 patients are being treated in hospitals.”

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