All residential areas in Beijing are under lockdown and thousands of flights in an out of the Chinese capital have been canceled due to a new outbreak of coronavirus infections, state media reported on Wednesday.

According to The Global Times, 1,255 flights — 640 incoming and 615 departing — were canceled after authorities raised the city’s COVID-19 emergency response status from Level 3 to Level 2.

Lockdown measures were enforced across the city after the number of local infections crossed 100 in less than a week.

During the past 24 hours, 44 new COVID-19 cases were recorded on the Chinese mainland, including 31 from Beijing, bringing the capital’s tally to 137 in the past six days, the country’s National Health Commission said in its daily report.

Authorities had earlier sealed Xinfadi market which sells seafood, fruit, and vegetables, and is believed to be the source of the new outbreak in the city.

Beijing, home to over 21 million people, has started mass nucleic acid tests, especially for those who visited the market.

According to the state-run newspaper, more cases linked to Beijing’s new wave have emerged outside the capital.

It said two new cases – one in the neighboring Hebei province and the other in the eastern Zhejiang province – have been linked to the Xinfadi market.

The report said the infection chain detected from the market “has already spread to Northeast China’s Liaoning with two patients, and Southwest China’s Sichuan province with one case.”

It added that Hebei “has so far reported eight patients connected to the cluster infections.”

Following the Beijing outbreak, several cities have issued alerts and enforced measures to avert a similar situation, including advising people who visited the Xinfadi market to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Multiple cities have already warned residents not to travel to Beijing.

China has recorded 84,422 cases so far, with 4,638 deaths and 79,493 recoveries.

The country is seen as the source of the pandemic, which has now claimed over 443,700 lives globally and infected more than 8.17 million people in 188 countries and regions.

* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid in Islamabad.

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