The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing are set to start in just over a week. With the deadline looming the country has seen more COVID cases.
China announced 24 new COVID cases today. This is comparably low when compared to most of the rest of the world, as China has generally managed to keep cases below 100 per day since the outbreak began, quite a feat for a country with over a billion people. However, the most recent cases might be a bit worrying as the Winter Olympics rapidly approach. Even more concerning is that the majority of these cases, 14, were found in Beijing itself where the games are to be held. This is an increase of 9 positive cases in the capital from the previous day.
It is unlikely, though possible, that there will be an explosion of cases in Beijing before the Olympics begin. China has maintained an iron grip on locations with outbreaks, often locking down entire areas for weeks as was recently seen in Xi’an (西安). Many have spoken out about the issues surrounding these lockdowns, such as lack of food and inability or unwillingness to care for the needs and rights of Chinese citizens. However, 0 COVID has also allowed the vast majority in China to live more freely and certainly more healthily than most other countries in the world in terms of COVID.
We will have to wait and see if the outbreak in Beijing continues to grow. With the tightly controlled bubble planned for the Olympics it is unlikely that local cases will affect the Games themselves. Though of course, there is always a possibility of cross contamination between the two sides, which would be disastrous for China, who has already seen international protests over the Olympics being held there due to its flagrant human rights abuses.
As of the writing of this article there have been105,655 confirmed cases in China and 4,636 deaths from COVID.