Beijing city imposes COVID restrictions on conferences and events

BEIJING, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Beijing authorities imposed new restrictions on conferences and events after confirming six locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Thursday, including people who had attended forums in the urban area.

The Chinese capital has reported fewer than 50 local symptomatic infections in the latest outbreak, which has led to more than 1,000 local cases since mid-October. But it is taking strict measures to block additional routes of contagion within the zero tolerance policy for the disease.

The city also hosts the Winter Olympics in February.

Beijing has already closed some high-risk residential complexes and businesses, postponed its annual marathon and demanded fewer activities such as wedding receptions and exhibitions.

“Conferences and events should be held by video call whenever possible and face-to-face events should be reduced in size,” Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said at a news conference on Thursday.

Participants in face-to-face conferences must be kept in a “closed circuit,” which means that they cannot leave the venue for other meetings or group meals and must avoid using public transportation, the official added.

Organizers of face-to-face events should verify participants’ COVID test results and check if they have visited areas where COVID-19 outbreaks have been identified, Pang said.

As of November 10, mainland China had reported 98,001 COVID-19 cases with confirmed symptoms, including local and imported cases, with a total of 4,636 deaths. (Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo / Janisse Huambachano)

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