China on Thursday closed all schools, cancelled hundreds of flights and launched a massive testing campaign amid fears of a new coronavirus outbreak.

Beijing has maintained a relentless zero-Covid approach with strict border closures and targeted lockdowns, even as other countries try to ease restrictions.

Domestic outbreaks have largely been contained, but as China recorded its fifth straight day of new cases largely in the northern and northwestern regions, officials stepped up coronavirus controls.

The worst outbreak involved an older couple who were in a group of several tourists. He started in Shanghai before flying to Xi'an, Gansu Province and Inner Mongolia. Many of cases have been linked to his travels, with close links in at least five provinces and territories, including the capital Beijing.


Local governments have launched large-scale testing and closed sights and tourist sites, schools and entertainment venues in affected areas, and also imposed targeted lockdowns of housing composites.

Airports in the affected areas have canceled hundreds of flights, according to data from aviation tracker VeriFlight. More than 60 percent of flights to the two main airports in Xi'an and Lanzhou have been cancelled.

In a notice published on Monday, Ehrenhot in Inner Mongolia said travel in and out of the city was banned and residents should not leave their housing complex.

As of now, China's National Health Commission said 13 new domestic cases were reported on Thursday.

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