Beijing clamps down before Winter Olympics: Rolling lockdowns, daily COVID-19 tests

Beijing is locking housing complexes and economic zones outside the city as it tries to stamp out any sign of the coronavirus with days to go before the Winter Games begin.

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Authorities detected more than 20 cases over the weekend, bringing total infections from its latest outbreak to over 100, according to the South China Morning Post.

Those totals would be enviable elsewhere, but China’s central communist government is taking a draconian approach to the virus.

Residents within housing compounds in the Fengtai and Anzhenli neighborhoods of the Chaoyang district are not allowed to leave their homes and will be tested daily after the recent uptick in local cases.

The Xiong’an New Area, home to 1.2 million people southwest of Beijing, was locked down a few days ago, raising eyebrows to the extent authorities will go to try and stiff-arm the virus.

China’s zero-COVID approach seems unsustainable to many scientists, especially if there is little natural immunity to the virus and antibodies from its domestic vaccines cannot keep up with the latest variants.

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Beijing’s most pressing priority is holding a virus-free Olympics, which will be held in a “closed-loop” system that cuts off athletes, workers and journalists from the rest of the city.

The Winter Games kick off Friday.

Beijing limited tickets to domestic spectators and, in January, further restricted audiences to those who were invited to be on-site. Authorities are keeping participants in a closed-circuit system and, in a sign of the drastic measures, told locals not to help anyone who gets in a car accident within Olympics-only lanes of highways.

Athletes are being tested regularly and positive results could make it impossible for them to compete. The Morning Post said organizers detected 37 new infections among athletes at the airport or the Olympic’s home base, or “bubble,” bringing the total to 176 since Jan. 23.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

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