0829 GMT January 20, 2022
Cities across China are becoming more vigilant against COVID-19 ahead of the Lunar New Year travel season later this month and as Beijing readies to stage the Winter Olympics beginning Feb. 4, with many local governments urging residents not to leave town unnecessarily, Reuters reported.
Shanghai's tourism and culture authority said travel agencies and online tourism companies must once again halt organising group tours into and out of Shanghai after it reported five new domestically transmitted infections on Thursday, all linked to an arrival from overseas.
The order, in line with a national guideline to cut tourist activities in provinces where new infections have emerged, came less than a month after Shanghai lifted a suspension that had come into effect in November.
China has dramatically cut back on international arrivals during the pandemic, but the number of infected travellers arriving in Shanghai, a major financial hub, during the first 10 days of January, exceeded those for all of December.
China has reported local transmissions of the highly-contagious Omicron variant in the northern city of Tianjin and three other cities but has not said how many Omicron cases it has detected in total.
China on Friday announced that 30 inbound international flights from several countries were suspended due to COVID-19 cases, including four more from the United States. So far this year, China has announced the cancellation of 74 flights from the United States.