China Imposes New Curbs Over “Serious” Covid-19 Outbreak
Beijing implemented further Covid-19 restrictions on Saturday to combat a “serious” outbreak, maintaining its rigorous zero-tolerance policy with less than 100 days until the Winter Olympics.
China’s top epidemiologist, Zhong Nanshan, stated on Saturday that a statewide epidemic might be contained in a month, but that the “pandemic cannot be eradicated within a short period of time.”At least 14 provinces in China have been affected by the outbreak, and millions of people have been tested in the last week.
Mi Feng, a representative for the National Health Commission, told a press conference on Saturday that the situation is “serious and complex,” and that the outbreak “is still developing rapidly.”
Authorities in Beijing ordered all cinemas in the capital’s Xicheng neighborhood, which is west of Tiananmen Square and home to nearly a million people, to close until November 14.
China reported 59 instances of the locally transmitted virus on Saturday, the most since mid-September, with two cases in Beijing related to a tourist group afflicted in the country’s north.
Despite the low number of cases compared to daily case counts in other nations, authorities in Beijing are urging Beijing to contain the virus before the Games begin on February 4.
The city, which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics, will be the first in the world to host both events.
The latest epicenter of the outbreak is located 650 kilometers from Beijing, in Erenhot, on the Mongolian border.
Six million Chinese citizens now face travel restrictions in cities where the virus has been diagnosed.
According to state news outlet Xinhua, the country’s countrywide train operator will suspend or curtail routes in impacted areas.
A negative test result is now required for entry into many locations, especially for persons coming from affected areas.
Around half of the flights departing Beijing’s capital were canceled on Friday, prompting authorities to advise residents not to leave the city unless absolutely necessary. Beijingers were also asked to postpone their marriages.