A majority of flights in and out of Beijing were canceled Wednesday as officials continue to step up their response to a new COVID-19 outbreak.
The Associated Press says authorities are describing the situation as "extremely grave." More than 130 new coronavirus cases have recently been reported in the Chinese capital, which has been placed under a so-called "soft lockdown."
The new cases are being linked to a wholesale food market in the city. The 2,000-stall market was shut down over the weekend. But thousands of people from all over the country visit the market on any day, so officials fear the outbreak could spread pretty far.
As a result, Beijing officials raised the city’s coronavirus alert to the second-highest level, allowing for movement in and out of the area to be "strictly controlled."
That's where the canceled flights come in. Chinese state media say that as of Wednesday, the more than 1,200 scrapped flights account for more than 60% of flights in and out of Beijing. Most of the canceled flights are domestic routes.
While many countries have suspended travel to China over the coronavirus, Beijing's Capital International Airport is usually the second-busiest airport in the world when it comes to passenger capacity.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.