New guidelines: Beijing flights will be diverted

By WANG KEJU in Beijing and ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang| ( CHINA DAILY )| Updated : 2020-03-23

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A ground staff worker cleans a parked passenger aircraft of China Eastern Airlines at Beijing Capital International Airport as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, March 9, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Passengers must first undergo screening for virus before arriving in nation's capital

Starting Monday, the Chinese capital will redirect all the inbound flights scheduled to land at Beijing Capital International Airport to 12 designated airports where passengers' health condition will be checked.

All arriving international passengers in Beijing must first fly to one of the 12 airports for health screening and quarantine, according to a notice jointly issued on Sunday by multiple national agencies.

Passengers who do not exhibit symptoms will be allowed to reboard their planes to Beijing, it added.

The airports in Tianjin, Taiyuan, in Shanxi province, and Hohhot, in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, have been handling such diverted inbound flights since Friday.

Added to the list are airports in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province; Jinan and Qingdao, Shandong province; Nanjing, Jiangsu province; Shenyang and Dalian, Liaoning province; Zhengzhou, Henan province; Xi'an, Shaanxi province; and Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The capital also requires that passengers arriving from other countries take strengthened nucleic acid tests for COVID-19.

Those showing symptoms, such as fever and cough, and who have travel histories to countries with serious coronavirus outbreaks or some other conditions worthy of note must undergo nucleic acid testing, Xinhua News Agency quoted the city's anti-COVID-19 office as saying.

As of 12 am Sunday, Beijing had reported 99 imported cases of COVID-19, according to the Beijing Municipal Health Commission.

As of Saturday, the capital had seen no confirmed cases in residents for 15 consecutive days, Gao Xiaojun, health commission spokesman, said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon.

"The imported cases are the current focus of the city's prevention and control efforts," Gao said.

The Chinese mainland saw a total of 314 confirmed cases in patients from other countries, as of Saturday, according to the National Health Commission. Those in Beijing accounted for about 31 percent.

A closed-loop management of inbound passengers and 14-day concentrated observation after their arrival was stressed in a meeting in Beijing on Saturday.

"Concentrated observation of them is needed because if they instead returned home for self-quarantine, there would be great risks of cross-infection among families," said Deputy Director Pang Xinghuo, of the Beijing Center for Diseases Prevention and Control.

Pang warned that long international journeys should be avoided because of the high danger of infection.

For overseas Chinese who may need help, Beijing has opened online consultation platforms, including those managed by internet search engine Baidu and e-commerce platform JD, Pang added.