China’s COVID-hit Shenzhen suspends direct flights to Beijing

Travellers are seen at the Beijing Daxing International Airport on the first day of Labour Day holiday, in Beijing

Direct flights from the southern city of Shenzhen to Beijing have been suspended until at least July 1, booking apps showed, ahead of celebrations for the Chinese Communist Party’s founding in the capital on that date.

China’s most populous province Guangdong is battling a COVID-19 outbreak, with 170 confirmed local cases between May 21 and June 21. No new confirmed local cases were reported for June 22.

Of the cases, eight were recorded in Shenzhen, while 146 were reported in the provincial capital Guangzhou, though direct flights were still available to Beijing as of Wednesday, booking apps such as CTrip and Fliggy showed.

A Shenzhen government official who declined to be identified and two airline representatives confirmed flights from Shenzhen to the capital had been suspended.

Flights to other mainland destinations appeared to be operating as normal.

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.

While the Chinese city of Wuhan was the initial epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, which first emerged there in late 2019, China has largely kept COVID-19 at bay over the past year, with intermittent outbreaks that were quickly contained.

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