Beijing goes through mass flight cancellations following new COVID-19 wave

- A Monitor Desk Report 18 Jun, 2020 | 483 Views|-+
Dhaka: Several flights to and from Beijing were cancelled on June 17 as authorities ramped up measures to contain a second wave of coronavirus in the Chinese capital, placing it under a so-called "soft lockdown".

On June 17, Beijing reported 31 new COVID-19 cases for the previous day, bringing the total number of infections over the past six days to 137.

While the Beijing government did not announce the suspension of transportation in and out of the city, hundreds of flights were cancelled at Beijing's two major airports on June 17, according to aviation data providers.

There was no official announcement from the Chinese government on the flight cancellations.

According to aviation data tracker Variflight, as of 3:00 pm local time on June 17, at least 630 flights were cancelled at the Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport -- around half of all scheduled flights.

Air traffic at from both airports had been on the rise since May until the drastic plunge this week, Variflight data showed.

Flight Master, another China-based aviation data provider, said 1,255 flights had been scrapped at both airports on June 17, accounting for 67 per cent of outgoing flights and 68 per cent of incoming flights.

The country's flag carrier Air China announced on social media that 297 flights arriving or departing from the Beijing Capital International Airport were cancelled.

"Affected by the outbreak in Beijing, there are mass delays and cancellations of arriving and departing flights," it said in a statement, without specifying if the authorities had given any orders for the cancellations.

Several domestic airlines, including Air China, China Eastern, China Southern and Hainan Airlines, have promised full refunds to passengers who bought tickets to leave Beijing from this week to the end of June, according to reports.

Describing the new outbreak as "very severe," the Beijing municipal government on June 16 raised its alert level to Level 2 -- the second-highest in a four-tier public health emergency response system, ramping up restrictive measures across the city.

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