China: daily cases at their highest for two years three weeks before the Olympics

China: Daily cases at two-year high within three weeks of Olympics

UPGRADE DAY

The number of Covid-19 cases in China rose to its highest level since March 2020 on Monday, as Beijing scrambles to eradicate the highly contagious Omicron variant three weeks from the Winter Olympics.

On Monday, 223 new cases were reported in China, including 80 in the virus-hit port city of Tianjin, and nine others, including cases of Omicron, in Guangzhou in the south of the country.

< p>Sixty-eight other cases have been reported in the central province of Henan, where partial containment measures and a massive testing campaign have been put in place for several million residents.

Zhuhai, on the border with Macau, asked its residents to avoid leaving the city after detecting a handful of Omicron cases and began testing the whole city from Monday. Schools have been closed.

Meanwhile, in the historic city of Xi'an, in the north of the country, new infections have slowed sharply after almost a month of confinement.

Sixty new imported cases were also recorded on Monday, as China maintains strict border entry controls, including reducing the number of flights and a “circuit breaker” policy under which routes are interrupted if the number of imported infections is too high.

Athletes and representatives have already started arriving in the capital in anticipation of the Games, immediately entering a tightly controlled bubble that separates them entirely from the rest of the population.

After a local case of Omicron was detected in Beijing over the weekend, authorities have tightened regulations for people arriving in the capital from other parts of China.

Beijing now requires a negative test before travel and a follow-up test after arrival, with locals urged not to leave the city during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.

China, where the virus is ap first released in late 2019, clings to a draconian zero-tolerance policy for coronavirus as the rest of the world reopens its borders.

But that policy has come under severe strain in recent times. weeks with multiple outbreaks of contamination across the country.

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