Two Chinese airports requiring virus test results

BEIJING (AP) — Two major airports in northeastern China are requiring departing passengers show a negative coronavirus test taken over the previous 72 hours before they can board their planes.

The requirements by the Shenyang and Dalian airports come amid a small but persistent growth in cases in the two cities located in Liaoning province just north of the capital Beijing.

Four new cases were announced yesterday in Liaoning, along with another five cases in Beijing, where emergency testing was ordered for over one million people following the detection of a small cluster in the northeastern suburbs.

Wary of another wave of infections, China is urging tens of millions of migrant workers to stay put during next month’s Lunar New Year holiday, usually the world’s largest annual human migration. Classes are being dismissed a week earlier than usual and tourists are told not to come to Beijing for holidays.

China yesterday reported 19 new virus cases, including 10 brought from outside the country. Three hundred and seventy people are in treatment for COVID-19 and another 279 are being observed in isolation for having tested positive for the disease without showing symptoms.

People walk through a shopping area in Nanjing in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province. PHOTO: AP

Since the coronavirus was detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, China has reported a total of 87,071 cases and 4,634 deaths, although some question whether those figures underreport the extent of the outbreak in the country.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police are seeking help in finding four prisoners infected with the coronavirus who are missing after escaping from a treatment centre, as cases in prisons surge to over 4,000.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said yesterday five inmates escaped the previous day and one was later captured. “We need to trace the other four as quickly as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he said. The coronavirus has been spreading in Sri Lanka’s crowded prisons.

As of yesterday, 3,894 inmates and 122 guards have tested positive. Cases have been detected in five prisons in different parts of the country. The disease has surged in Sri Lanka since October, when two clusters emerged in the capital area, one at a garment factory and other at a fish market. Confirmed cases have risen to 43,298, including 204 fatalities.