Outbreak of Virus Near Beijing, Host of 2022 Winter Olympics, Has China Worrying; Lockdown and Restrictions Set in Place

In its attempt to stick to its “zero-tolerance” COVID-19 policy, China has imposed further restrictions and lockdowns particularly in the city of Tianjin a city that is close to the Olympic host. The government has imposed lockdowns and restrictions in that city as it has seen an increase in the new omicron variant. This has them worried.

Throughout the pandemic, China has been extremely protective of Beijing as it is not only hosting the Olympic Games, but it is also the seat of government and home to senior politicians.

Tianjin suspended train, taxi, bus and ride-hailing services to other cities. Flights and high-speed train services were canceled earlier and highways closed. People leaving the city were required to present negative virus tests and receive special permission.

Along with mass testing and digital surveillance of people’s movements, those measures have kept the virus from spreading into a full-fledged national outbreak so far. The country’s vaccination rate now also tops 85%.

“Can China stave off omicron?” asks Dali Yang, Chinese politics expert at the University of Chicago.

What measures are the Chinese taking to fight the spreading of the virus?

– The rules in Beijing will be even stricter than Tokyo’s.

– The Games are being conducted under a “closed loop” system that is meant to prevent all contact between the outside world and athletes, journalists, staff and officials at the Olympics.

– Those inside the Games bubble will travel between hotels and competition venues in special vehicles. Anyone who leaves the sealed environment will be required to quarantine for three weeks.

“The world is turning its eyes to China,” President Xi Jinping said during an inspection tour last week. “And China is ready.”