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COVID-19 Surge: Flights From Shenzhen to Beijing Suspended

Prakash Gogoi
Prakash covers news and politics for Vision Times.
Published: June 24, 2021
COVID-19 concerns in China have led to the suspension of flights from Shenzhen to Beijing.
COVID-19 concerns in China have led to the suspension of flights from Shenzhen to Beijing. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has suspended direct flights from Shenzhen to Beijing until at least July 1 following a surge in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections. Although direct flights to Beijing are canceled, people can still use other means of transportation to get to the capital. Flights from Shenzhen to other major Chinese cities continue to operate normally.

Shenzhen is a major sub-provincial city in the province of Guangdong. Between May 21 and June 21, 170 cases of infections were officially confirmed. The Indian Delta variant is said to be the strain that triggered the new outbreak. Eight of the cases were reported in Shenzhen, and 146 cases were reported in the provincial capital Guangzhou.

According to The Epoch Times, locals from Guangdong’s major cities, including Shenzhen, Foshan, Dongguan, and Guangzhou, believe that the outbreak is getting worse. “We didn’t hear any new infections being announced by the authorities, but they haven’t unlocked the container terminal at the harbor… The control is tightening up,” a businessman from Shenzhen told the media outlet.

On June 18, Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport had canceled 400 flights after a staff member working at the airport’s restaurant tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The airport is located just 60 miles from Guangzhou, the epicenter of the Guangdong province outbreak. Airport authorities have ordered everyone entering the premises to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours before entering.

“All stores in the terminal building should be closed and staff will carry out large-scale disinfection on the ground of the transportation center in the terminal… All staff who are in direct contact with passengers in the terminal should wear Level 1 protective clothes when working,” Chen Minsheng, deputy secretary of the Party committee of Shenzhen Airport Group, said at a press conference on June 20.

The flight restriction from Shenzhen to Beijing precedes major government celebrations. July 1 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, and the regime is planning grand festivities in Beijing. 

Authorities have closed Tiananmen Square to the public until July 2nd. The square has been barricaded, with heavy machinery and rows of yellow seats filling the open plaza. The plaza houses the mausoleum of Mao Zedong.

Troubled citizens

Chinese officials responded to the Guangdong COVID-19 wave with extremely strict measures, including shutting down several essential shops. Since the start of the month, many citizens have complained about the lack of food.

On June 2nd, several residents from Guangzhou’s Jushu village told The Epoch Times that their village was locked down without any prior notice. On top of food and medicine shortages, supplies such as formula milk for babies were scarce.

“So far, 90 percent of us have not received the so-called free food and supplies provided by the authorities. Now, the village committee has started to drive up prices for the rationed food, and many people trapped here cannot afford the high-priced vegetables. The boxed lunches that cost 15 yuan ($ 2.3) before are now selling for 60 yuan ($ 9.2),” a Jushu villager said in a social media post.

In Shenzhen, grocery stores have been shut down, and residents are unable to secure food supplies even if they have enough money.

“Our family has six members, four are children. All the food we have is in my store [in another part of the village]. I can’t go to my store to get the food, nor leave the village to buy [food and other supplies] due to the lockdown,” one man from the Xiashiwei village in Shenzhen told The Epoch Times on June 19.

Xiashiwei village is near the Bao’an International Airport, and many of its residents are migrants who work at the airport.