China reports sudden surge in COVID-19 cases causing flight cancellations

A sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in the southern region of China has caused a spate of flight cancellations.

On Sunday, 27 new cases were reported by China's national health authority, out of which only seven were imported, with the rest originating domestically in the Guangdong province, Reuters reports. Out of the 20 that originated in China, 18 were reported in the city of Guangzhou. The other two cases were reported in Foshan.

Nineteen asymptomatic cases were also reported in China, though the country does not count those as confirmed cases.

By the afternoon, more than 500 flights had been canceled at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. These account for more than a third of total flights that were scheduled for Monday, Reuters reports.

The outlet notes that the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport has been among the busiest airports in the world during the pandemic, carrying more than 43.8 million passengers last year.

On Saturday, the Guangzhou government ordered residents living on five streets in the city of Liwan to stay at home and to stop any nonessential activities. Local health officials told media that recent infections in Liwan were stemming from the fast-spreading coronavirus variant that was first detected in India