Affected communities are all in Daxing district, which is home to the city’s second airport and where China’s first infections involving the B117 variant were reported last week

All 1.7 million residents of Daxing have been told they cannot leave the city without official permission and a negative test result

The residents of five neighbourhoods in a southern district of Beijing and schoolchildren across the city have been told to stay at home as health authorities in the Chinese capital fight to bring the latest

outbreak under control.

The communities are all in Daxing, which is home to the city’s second airport and where six new cases were confirmed on Tuesday. The only other case reported in the city that day was in Shunyi district, which is home to Beijing’s main airport, Capital International.

Last week, two people in Daxing were identified as the first locals to be infected with the

of the coronavirus that was first identified in Britain, the city’s health authority said on Wednesday.

Besides the five neighbourhoods, the stay-at-home instruction also applies to all Beijing schoolchildren, with the restriction taking effect on Thursday for kindergarteners and on Saturday for middle and high school pupils. The city’s primary schools are already on their winter holiday.

The remainder of Daxing’s 1.7 million residents have been told they cannot leave Beijing unless they have official permission to do so and can provide a negative test result within the previous 72 hours.

The local government has also banned all gatherings of 50 or more people and said “weddings should be postponed, funerals simplified, banquets cancelled”.

The restrictions come just days ahead of the annual meetings of Beijing’s legislature and political advisory body – both of which run for four days from Thursday and Saturday, respectively – with some sessions set to be held online to protect against further infections.

Meanwhile, the lockdowns and restrictions imposed in neighbouring Hebei province appear to be bearing fruit, with just 19 cases confirmed on Tuesday, the lowest daily tally for two weeks.

The northeast of the country continues to be worst affected by the latest outbreak, however, with Jilin province accounting for 46 and Heilongjiang 16 of the 88 locally transmitted cases reported nationwide on Tuesday.

More than 100 recent cases in Jilin have been linked to a 45-year-old

who had been travelling in the two provinces, authorities said at the weekend.

In Heilongjiang, Wangkui county was designated as a high-risk area on Wednesday, as its 500,000 residents were undergoing a third round of mass testing and 16 officials were reprimanded for their poor efforts in controlling the outbreak.

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