Weeks ahead of Olympics, China records highest COVID cases in nearly two years  

DHARAMSALA, 17 Jan: Just three weeks ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, China has recorded the highest COVID-19 cases in nearly two years.

The number of Covid-19 cases in China reached the highest since March 2020 on Monday, Agence France Press reported.

According to the report, on Monday, 223 new cases were reported in China, in addition to another 80 in the virus-hit port city of Tianjin, and nine more, including Omicron cases, in the key manufacturing hub of Guangdong.

Additionally, another 68 cases were reported across central Henan province while 60 more imported cases were reported from Xi’an, a northern city in China.

Though China has stuck to a strict policy of targeting zero COVID cases since its outbreak in Wuhan in late 2019, the report noted that “China’s approach has come under sustained pressure in recent weeks with multiple clusters across the country just as the Games are about to get underway in Beijing.”

Meanwhile, amidst a surge in cases across China, “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,” the report added.

To make the matters worse, a local Omicron case was detected over the weekend, prompting the authorities to “tightened regulations for those arriving in the capital from elsewhere in China.”

Chinese people now require a negative test before travel and a follow-up test after entering Beijing, while residents are urged not to leave the city for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

So far, at least ten countries have announced the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 games including the US, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Canada, Japan, Denmark and the Netherland.

Besides,  the Olympic and Paralympic Committee of countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Dutch and Australia have all reportedly issued similar advice to their  “athletes, coaches and staff to refrain from using their personal electronic devices while in China due to surveillance concerns, and use ‘burner’ phones rather than their cellphones.”

The Games are scheduled to begin on 4 Feb, but calls to boycott it continue to get steam over China’s crimes against humanity and genocide

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