CHINA has begun restricting ticket sales for rail services to Beijing from a number of areas at medium and high risk of Covid-19 such as Nanjing and Zhengzhou, as the country deals with another virus outbreak.

The outbreak, the worst in recent months, has been linked to airport employees at Nanjing Lukou International Airport. More than 400 people in 25 cities have tested positive, with cases reported in 17 of China’s 31 provinces. The country currently has four high-risk areas and 125 medium-risk areas. Another 71 locally transmitted cases were confirmed on Tuesday, the national health commission said on Wednesday, the highest daily count since January. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism warned in a circular on August 4 that the situation was severe and complex, and warned against organising group travel to medium and high-risk areas.

Tickets sales have been suspended for rail services from 23 stations to Beijing, says Mr Cui Wei, an official with China Railway Beijing Group. According to the Xinhua state-run news agency, 13 services from Beijing to Nanjing and Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, Zhengzhou in Henan Province and Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province have also been cancelled.

Deputy director of the National Railways Group’s Labour and Health Department, Mr Wu Shiping, says the railway was focusing on putting the health of passengers and residents first, and following China’s strategy to prevent “external importation and internal rebound” of the virus.  

Stations across the country are implementing strict prevention measures, including stopping passengers who don’t meet travel requirements from entering the station or travelling on trains. Free refunds are being offered to allow passengers to easily change their travel plans. Other measures include increasing cleaning and ventilation, social distancing, and the wearing of masks. Isolation seats have been introduced for passengers who are identified with a fever while onboard the train, the railway is also monitoring its employees.