Beijing, Nov 1: The Chinese capital Beijing further tightened measures on Monday to contain the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, asking residents who travelled to other areas of the country that reported a surge to put off their return plans as cases continued to climb nationally, raising concerns about the efficacy of the Zero-COVID policy.
The Beijing Health Commission announced that residents who are on trips outside of the city should postpone their return if they have visited locations that have reported confirmed cases during the same period.
People who have already come back to Beijing from travels should report their tracks to local communities, hotels or companies immediately and start self-quarantine," the commission said.
The city government is asking residents not to go out of the city when it's not absolutely necessary since the epidemic outbreak has involved 16 municipalities, provinces and autonomous regions.
Health officials are visiting residential compounds to physically verify the travel records of the people living there.
After reporting over 20 cases last month, Beijing officially reported no new locally transmitted cases on Sunday.
Beijing local government is stepping up measures as the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) is set to host its Plenum, a high-power policy-making body from November 8-11 in which over 370 officials were expected to take part.
The meeting is being held ahead of next year's party conference for leadership change.
The city is also gearing up to host the Winter Olympics in February next year for which hundreds of international athletes are expected to participate.
If you have fever, cough and other symptoms, please do not have meals together or participate in parties go to the fever clinic of a nearby hospital as soon as possible, do not take medicine on your own, so as not to delay the treatment opportunity, the commission said.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continued to rise in different parts of the country testing China's zero virus policy, under which China strictly restricted international travel followed by 21-day quarantine to those including diplomats returning to their posts in the country.
On Monday China's National Health Commission reported 92 COVID-19 cases in the country including 59 new locally transmitted cases on Sunday.
China continues to ban travellers from India and other South Asian countries as part of the Zero-COVID policy despite criticism that coronavirus has now turned endemic and the cases continue to surface in different provinces and cities.
Whenever cases increase, hundreds of officials resort to testing and tracing millions of residents besides banning local flights and trains to contain the spread.
Defending the Zero-COVID policy, an article in the Global Times said, if we change course to the European and US way of "coexistence with the virus, China will fall victim to the virus within just a few months, with tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of cases a day .
The daily death toll could mount to hundreds or even thousands of people. The situation is definitely not something most Chinese are willing to bear , it said.
Every time an outbreak occurs, the implementation of the zero-COVID policy will mean economic and social costs. But if we don't adopt this policy, it will lead to a serious spread of the virus, and the cost will only be higher , the report added.
In order to stop the spread of the virus, Northwest Gansu Province put 83 residential compounds in six cities under closed-off management from October 18 to 31, officials said at a press conference on Monday.
The province reported 10 new locally-transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
From Oct. 18 to 31, Gansu reported 105 local confirmed cases in the latest resurgence of the epidemic.
Northwest Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region on Monday expanded the suspension of in-person classes to more areas to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Kindergartens, primary and middle schools, vocational schools and off-campus training centres in the regional capital Yinchuan, as well as the cities of Shizuishan, Wuzhong and Zhongwei, have been ordered to suspend in-person classes, according to the regional education department.
With the new directive, in-person classes in four of the region's five prefectural-level cities currently stand suspended, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.