Covid is still keeping China on its toes with the emergence of new outbreaks and the Wuhan marathon, postponed at the last moment, has been at the expense. The race, which was scheduled for today, was supposed to celebrate the definitive return to normal in the city where the coronavirus first appeared. For the authorities, however, it is time for caution: we must avert a resurgence of the epidemic, because in just over two months Beijing will host the Winter Olympics.
In the last 24 hours, 26 new infections have been reported in China: small numbers, if we consider what is happening in other countries of the world, but sufficient, according to the government, to strengthen zero tolerance towards Covid. With mass tracking in the most affected areas and targeted closures. Among other things, organized trips to five highest-risk regions have been suspended. While some cities, including the provincial capital of Gansu, Lanzhou, and parts of Inner Mongolia, have also suspended bus and taxi services. “The risk of further spread of the epidemic continues to increase,” warned Mi Feng, spokesman for the national health commission.
Most of the infections, it was explained, were caused by a strain of the Delta variant imported with some tour groups. And as the tests go on, the positives will also increase. The resumption of infections has also alarmed the organizers of the Wuhan marathon. Who decided to postpone it just a couple of days before the appointment. 26,000 participants were expected at the race, who were supposed to cross the metropolis of the central province of Hubei. A missed party, which would have chased away the shadows of that December 2019, when a mysterious virus appeared in the city fish market, unleashing a pandemic in less than three months. Another marathon, the one scheduled in Beijing next weekend, at this point risks being skipped or in any case being postponed, according to local newspapers.
But in the capital, people are concerned above all because in 100 days, on February 4, 2022, the Winter Games will start. Containment measures will be strict: no foreign spectators, mandatory vaccine for the public and for athletes, who will also have to undergo a 21-day quarantine upon entry into the country. While residents are given additional boosters of the vaccine, starting with high-risk staff. The Chinese government is betting heavily on the February Olympics, which will be a showcase in a phase of strong international tensions, especially with the West. And everything will have to go perfectly. It is no coincidence that the organizers of the Games have admitted that they face “great pressure” due to the re-emergence of the epidemic.