By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 17 January 2022 • 10:21
The cases of the Covid-19 virus has reached its highest in nearly two years, as Beijing attempts to stamp out the transmission just two weeks before the Winter Olympics.
The country, where the virus first emerged in late 2019, has continued with its strict zero policy of targeting coronavirus cases despite the rest of the world reopening. Despite the approach the country has come under increased pressure with multiple clusters emerging across the country.
Although the numbers reported are low, the government has persisted with its strategy with 223 cases reported in China today, including another 80 in the virus-hit port city of Tianjin, and nine more, including Omicron cases, in the key manufacturing hub of Guangdong.
The approach to tackling the virus suggests that the situation is worse than what is being reported.
Athletes and officials have already started to land in the capital ahead of the Games, immediately entering a tightly-controlled bubble that separates them entirely from the rest of the population. An increase in cases in Beijing has seen additional restrictions with travellers now requiring a negative test before travel and a follow-up test after entering the city. Residents have also been urged not to leave the city for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
Some tourist sites in the capital have also been closed.
Financial analysts have warned the strategy adopted by the government will increasingly weigh on an already flagging economy, with swift targeted lockdowns and travel restrictions wreaking havoc.
Nepal starts giving Covid-19 vaccine booster shots
A rise in infections in the mountain region of Nepal has resulted in the roll out of booster shots, as the government works to limit the spread of the Omicron variant. Daily cases jumped by 4,961 yesterday, the biggest daily increase in more than six months, taking total infections to 955,206..
Covid-19-related deaths stand at 11,620.
Nepal, a natural buffer between China and India, has double-vaccinated 39.9% of its 30 million people in a campaign that began early last year. Other actions taken include the banning of large public gatherings, the closing of schools and colleges until the end of January.
Authorities have also made it compulsory for people to produce proof of full vaccination to use public services from this week, prompting large queues at vaccine centres.
China will be concerned at the rise of virus cases which are at its highest in nearly two years, with the possibility that the Winter Olympics will be affected as competitors and officials may either choose not to travel, could bring infections with or could infected during the games.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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