On Tuesday, June 30, authorities in Beijing lifted lockdowns in five neighborhoods following a decrease in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The neighborhoods leaving the lockdown will be required to exercise strict social distancing measures, and entry will remain restricted to residents. The lockdowns had been implemented in dozens of neighborhoods last month following a surge in cases, sparking fears of a resurgence of the virus in the city. However, on Wednesday, July 1, only three new cases were identified. The majority of Beijing's new COVID-19 cases have been traced to the Xinfadi market in the Fengtai district, which supplies Beijing with 80-percent of its fresh food and meat.
On Saturday, June 27, Beijing issued fresh guidance on COVID-19 containment in response to the outbreak in the capital. Authorities called on residents to wear masks, maintain social distance, and wash hands frequently. The wearing of masks has been made compulsory in hospitals, busy tourist areas, and on public transport. Those with respiratory issues are advised to avoid going to public places and to always wear a mask if this is unavoidable. A further 17 COVID-19 cases were reported in Beijing on Sunday, bringing the number of cases since the recent outbreak emerged in mid-June now over 300.
Beijing authorities announced on June 17 that hundreds of domestic flights in and out of the city had been canceled due to the recent spike. A total of 1255 flights were canceled across Beijing's airports. The move came a day after Beijing authorities issued a level two alert (the second-highest in a four-tier COVID-19 emergency response level system) for the city on June 16. Education facilities throughout Beijing have closed, while some restaurants, bars, and nightclubs opted to close amid fears of a full-scale lockdown.
As of July 1, health authorities have confirmed 84,813 COVID-19 cases and 4641 associated deaths in China. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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