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Didi’s Huaxiaozhu app suspends services in Beijing after COVID-19 case

Written by Wency Chen Published on 

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Beijing has stepped up its coronavirus response after an increase in cases.

Huaxiaozhu, “Flower Piggy” in Mandarin, a standalone budget ride-hailing app run by Didi Chuxing, on Wednesday stopped its service in China’s capital temporarily until January 5, the company announced on its official Weibo account.

The suspension comes after a driver in Beijing contracted the coronavirus on December 26. The chauffeur surnamed Li was a close contact of a confirmed asymptomatic case. Huaxiaozhu blocked Li’s access to the order system and submitted his itineraries for movement tracking. He is now undergoing treatment in a local hospital.

Didi pledged to arrange tests for drivers of both platforms for free. Huaxiaozhu has also upgraded an AI system that conducts ongoing checks for health conditions and requires its staff to keep their masks up all the time.

Beijing locked down some areas in the northeastern Shunyi district on Tuesday, after the area registered 16 cases since December 18. The city, with the help of the major internet companies, has stepped up its coronavirus response quickly. Measures such as health declarations, mask-wearing, and temperature checks have been tightened and live events canceled. One of the patients reportedly shopped at Alibaba’s supermarket chain Hema. In an official statement, Hema informed that it conducted comprehensive disinfection of the storefront and organized COVID-19 tests for all staffers. Other companies, such as Meituan, have advised employees in the Beijing office to work from home.

(An earlier version of the story referred to Meituan as Meituan Dianping. The company changed its name in October.)

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