| 1 October 2022, Saturday |

Beijing City’s COVID Infections Rise ahead of Winter Olympics

Beijing reported 14 local confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily count in its current outbreak, less than two weeks before the Winter Olympics are due to commence in the Chinese capital and in neighboring Hebei province.

The number of domestically spread infections with confirmed symptoms in Beijing reported for Tuesday comprised more than half of the 24 such cases nationwide, data from the National Health Commission showed.

Beijing has detected a total of 55 local cases with symptoms since Jan. 15, with both the Omicron and Delta variants.

The number is significantly lower than cases elsewhere in the world but the city has put tens of thousands of people under targeted lockdowns and tested a few million residents to block transmission.

Beijing’s moves are in line with a national guideline to curb virus flare-ups as soon as possible, which takes on extra urgency as China has vowed to safely host the Winter Olympics Games and prevent major outbreaks during the Lunar New Year travel season.

Aside from Beijing, the provinces of Heilongjiang, Hebei, Liaoning, Henan and Guangdong as well as the region of Xinjiang all reported sporadic local cases with confirmed symptoms for Tuesday, NHC data showed.

In the Horgos city of Xinjiang, two asymptomatic infected people, detected on Sunday, were found to have contracted the Omicron variant, state television said late on Tuesday. The two had not left the city in two weeks and the source of the virus remained unclear.

There were no new deaths on Tuesday, leaving China’s overall death toll from the pandemic at 4,636.

As of Jan. 25, mainland China had reported a total of 105,749 cases with confirmed symptoms, including both local ones and those arriving from abroad.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat