China’s COVID-19 case rises ahead of the Communist Party’s conclave

BEIJING, Nov. 3 (Reuters) – China’s new locally transmitted COVID-19 case rose to nearly three months’ height and tighter curbs to limit the spread are expected in the capital Beijing ahead of a key rally of the highest-ranking Communist Party members next week.

The National Health Commission on Wednesday confirmed 93 new local symptomatic cases for November 2, up from 54 a day earlier and the highest daily figure since August 9 at the peak of China’s last major outbreak.

Beijing reported nine new local infections, the largest one-day increase in the capital this year.

While new daily cases in Beijing since the end of October have remained very modest compared to outside China, the country’s zero tolerance policy has meant that strict measures are put in place to limit the spread of the virus at all costs.

Temperature screening has been set up at the entrances to shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels, cinemas and metro stations, while a legion of staff on the ground check the health codes of visitors on their mobile phones.

Authorities in Beijing have also repeatedly urged residents to refrain from traveling out of the city, postponing weddings, simplifying funeral arrangements and cutting back on all unnecessary gatherings.

Of the flights scheduled for Wednesday at Beijing Daxing Airport, 60.4% have been canceled from the morning hours, while 49.8% of the flights at Beijing Capital International Airport (0694.HK) have been scrapped.

Air China (601111.SS) is offering free cancellations for flights to and from Beijing until December 1st.

The rise in Beijing infections is coming as the more than 300 members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party prepare to gather for a larger closed-door meeting on 8-11. November. It will be the committee’s sixth and penultimate so-called plenary session in its five-year term before the next major party congress in 2022.

In plenary, President Xi Jinping is expected to push through a resolution that will cement his authority and legacy and strengthen his cause for a precedent-breaking third term starting next year. Read more

Outside Beijing, new local infections were reported in the north, northeast, and northwest of provinces and territories, including Heilongjiang, Hebei, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, and Qinghai.

New cases were also seen in southwest China, in Chongqing municipality as well as Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

The southern province of Jiangxi reported two new cases.

Airlines including China Southern Airlines (600029.SS), Air China and China Eastern Airlines (600115.SS) offer free cancellations for flights to and from some COVID-affected cities, including Chongqing and Chengdu.

Including cases imported from abroad, China reported 109 new confirmed infections on November 2, compared to 71 a day earlier.

Pr. On November 2, mainland China had 97,423 confirmed cases.

Reporting by Ryan Woo, Liangping Gao and Stella Qiu Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Michael Perry and Lincoln Feast.

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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