Beijing’s travel restrictions have drawn discontent from hundreds of residents who were forbidden from entering the city even though they meet all health requirements. The local government issued an apology on Tuesday, citing data errors as the problem’s root cause.
Complaints surfaced on social media on Monday after Beijing residents were unable to purchase tickets to the capital even though their health codes were green—meaning they have had no physical contact with COVID-19 patients—and have completed tests for COVID-19 infections within the last 48 hours. Residents within Beijing who were attempting to buy train or plane tickets for round trips within the country were also barred from doing so.
The Beijing government pledged to solve the problem within two days.
China has a severe “zero tolerance” policy for keeping the coronavirus at bay. These are some of the strictest rules in the world. Local governments, especially that of the capital city, have been put on high alert after outbreaks affecting small pockets of the population that began in mid-October. Beijing restrictions to curb communal transmission are becoming even more stringent as the Winter Olympics will begin on February 4, which is less than 100 days away.
Beijing specifically bars entry for people who have been in China for less than 21 days, as well as anyone who has visited areas within the country where COVID-19 infections were reported in the previous 14 days. Local authorities urge denizens to remain in the city unless a departure is absolutely necessary.
On Tuesday, CNBC reported that half of the flights to and from Beijing were canceled due to tightened travel restrictions.
A total of 93 confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in 11 provinces and municipalities on Tuesday. Beijing reported nine cases, taking the local case number to 41 since October 19.
China has reported approximately 540 confirmed infections since mid-October.