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First local Omicron Covid-19 infection reported in Beijing as Olympics close

First local Omicron Covid-19 infection reported in Beijing as Olympics close

topline

China reported the first community reported a Covid-19 case of the highly transmissible ommicron variant in Beijing on Saturday as the country’s “zero Covid” policy comes under increasing pressure ahead of next month’s Olympics in Beijing.

Key facts

Lab tests showed that a Covid-positive woman who hadn’t left Beijing for more than two weeks contracted the omicron variant, making her infection the first confirmed local omicron case in the country’s capital, Chinese officials said at a Saturday briefing. according to Reuters and the South China Morning Mail.

Whether a local microwave wave will affect the 2022 Winter Olympics, which begin on Feb. 4 in Beijing, is a primary concern for the government: city spokesman Xu Hejian said on Saturday it is necessary to take action to “ensure the safety of the capital, the Winter Olympics and its inhabitants,” according to to the South China Morning Mail.

China has also reported cases of community spread of omicron in Tianjin city – which currently affects the 14 million inhabitants partial closure due to multiple local ommicron infections – and Henan, Guangdong and Liaoning provinces.

key background

Since the pandemic began in Wuhan in 2019, China has had a strict “zero covid approach”, including frequent citywide lockdowns, to limit the spread of the coronavirus. China’s National Health Commission reported just 165 new Covid-19 cases Saturday as other countries face record outbreaks amid the spread of the omicron variant. There were 3.12 million confirmed cases worldwide on Friday, according to to the World Health Organization, just before Wednesday’s record hit.

What to watch out for

What restrictions, if any, will be put in place in Beijing prior to the Winter Games. More than 20 million people are currently in lockdown in China, according to to the Associated Press.

Read further

Beijing Olympics: Will athletes who recently tested positive for Covid – including Shaun White, Alysa Liu – gain entry? (Forbes)

China shuts down city of 13 million after outbreak as part of ‘Zero Covid’ approach ahead of Olympics (Forbes)

Beijing City Reports First Local Omicron Case – State Media (Reuters)