Beijing cancels events as Covid hits 17-month record

Beijing has detected 45 cases in the latest wave, the highest since June 2020.

Beijing is hunkering down after experiencing more Covid infections in the current cluster than at any other time in the past 17 months, with officials asking to move events and activities online.

In a press briefing held late on Thursday after seven cases were found in a day in the Chinese capital, officials said companies should cancel all conferences unless they are necessary and reduce public contact as much as possible. take other steps for He said companies and individuals hosting the events would be held responsible.

Beijing has detected 45 cases in the latest wave, the highest since June 2020. The country is struggling to contain its fourth outbreak in the past five months with the more infectious Delta variant. With more than 1,000 locally transmitted infections spread across 21 provinces, this is an already widespread outbreak since the virus first emerged in Wuhan.

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Nowhere is the stake in maintaining a COVID zero approach more pressing than in the tightly guarded capital Beijing. It is now concluding a Communist Party plenum with around 400 senior political leaders and plans to host the Winter Olympics beginning in February. Then in March, legislators from across the country would gather in the city for the country’s annual legislative session.

Failure to contain the current outbreak would be a political as well as a medical setback in China. The country’s leaders have long boasted about success in containing the pathogen that has killed more than 5 million people worldwide, but less than 5,000 in China, the world’s most populous country. Nowhere else has been able to maintain a zero-tolerance approach since the emergence of the delta variant, with places that had initial success – such as Singapore and Australia – until recently to treat it as endemic.

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The latest wave came swiftly in Beijing and infected large numbers of people, creating a broader trajectory of the disease, said city government spokesman Xu Hejian. Which makes prevention especially difficult. Infections have triggered another bout of extensive contract tracing and mounting restrictions, including the closure of a major hospital and a shopping mall in downtown Beijing. The residential complexes where the patients and their close ones live have been closed.

China National Petroleum Corp. is launching COVID testing for everyone who was inside the same building as infected patients after three employees and four of their family members tested positive for the virus in Beijing and northeastern Dalian.

The coastal city of Dalian became the country’s latest hotspot on Friday, reporting 52 local cases and another five asymptomatic infections. The city government urged people not to step out of their homes to prevent transmission, and halted operations in unnecessary public places.

– With the help of Dong Liu.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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