Beijing local govt said that the epidemic prevention and control situation in Beijing is more complicated and severe. All schools in Beijing, including international schools and training centers, are to close all in-person classes from today afternoon onwards, according to announcements from the Beijing Education Commission.

In a bid to discourage China’s 280 million rural migrant workers to travel to their rural homes during Chinese New year, the National Health Commission announced late on Wednesday that people returning to rural areas from other provinces over the holiday would have to produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days and undergo 14 days of 'health monitoring' at their rural home. 

Local media reported, stringent pandemic precautions for visitors to the country’s rural areas over Lunar New Year have drawn criticism online. The Commission said, the pandemic control and prevention capacity is weak in rural areas.

The Chinese mainland on Wednesday reported 257 new COVID-19 cases, including 113 new asymptomatic cases. 126 were locally transmitted cases, of which 68 were in Heilongjiang, 33 in Jilin, 20 in Hebei, two in Beijing, two in Shanxi and one in Shandong, the National Health Commission said in its daily report. 

Amid the biggest wave of new infections since March, millions of residents in Hebei province surrounding Beijing and in the northeastern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang have been put into lockdown in recent weeks. Roughly 2,400 people are in hospital or under medical observation across the nation, according to the health authorities.

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