Beijing has further eased travel restrictions after five days in a row of no new coronavirus cases in the Chinese capital.
Beijing municipal government spokesman Xu Hejian said on Saturday that people could enter and leave the capital freely without being tested for the coronavirus if they were from “low-risk” areas.
All of the country’s medium and high-risk areas are in Beijing, so the easing means that people from outside Beijing can freely enter the capital without swab tests.
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Just over a week ago, authorities announced that residents from “low-risk” areas in Beijing could leave the city without having to provide results of a coronavirus test. But strict controls remained on people from medium and high-risk areas.
There is one high-risk area and 12 medium-risk areas in the country, all of them in Beijing.
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said some risk and emergency response levels might also be lowered in the next seven to 10 days.
“Beijing has not reported new cases for four days, which means it has contained the spread of the virus,” Wu told state broadcaster CCTV on Friday. “Only when the high-risk area is downgraded to medium-risk can we adjust the emergency response level.”
The capital raised its four-tier Covid-19 emergency response to level two from level three after the new cluster emerged at the city’s sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market one month ago.
If the response level is lowered to three, travel restrictions will be lifted and communities and indoor venues, like gyms, museums and libraries, will be able to gradually resume operation.
While Beijing has not fully reopened provincial borders and indoor attractions, some stalls at Xinfadi are back in business.
China CDC researcher Zhang Liubo said on Saturday that the beef and lamb trading hall at Xinfadi was still closed but other areas were open again.
More than 5,000 Xinfadi visitors and close contacts finished 21 days of quarantine on Tuesday and over 5,000 stallholders and staff completed 28 days on Saturday.
Wu said Beijing was still investigating the origin of the outbreak.
“The outbreak occurred after 56 days without a new case in Beijing, which indicates that the virus was brought in from outside [to the Xinfadi market],” he said.
Wu said teams were tracing the early infections in Xinfadi and goods transported to the market to try to pin down the source.
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This article Coronavirus: Beijing eases travel limits after five days of no new cases first appeared on South China Morning Post