China: Tokyo becomes latest nation to pull officials from Olympics
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China’s northern city of Xiong’an has been under intensive lockdown since Monday after only five COVID-19 cases were discovered.
But there is an oddity, authorities locked down the area but made no public announcement. Instead, they set up roadblocks, told people out on the streets that they had to go home and showed up at restaurants and shops ordering businesses to close.
Die Zeit Newspapers says that some city residents received messages on Monday from anonymous WeChat accounts announcing that the city would be under lockdown for the next week.
Local virus prevention staff confirmed to AFP on Friday that over a million people in Xiong’an, a new economic zone 60 miles southwest of Beijing, were no longer able to leave home.
The government official said to AFP: “We expect this [lockdown] to last around a week, but the exact timing is uncertain.”
Some believe Xiong’an’s lockdown was kept secret due to the proximity of the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
The Winter Olympics are meant to start on February 4 and the Chinese government is under huge pressure to keep any COVID-19 cases and infection measures under wraps. They are desperate to be beacons of hope for keeping the virus at bay.
They recently announced that domestic fans will be mostly barred from attending events.
Two athletes and eights officials arriving in China tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
Some Xiong’an users on the Chinese social media platform Weibo were asking for further information about restrictions.
One said: “Is there a need? Why can’t we go home if the area is deemed low-risk? Don’t make this one-size-fits-all.”
China has a very strict zero-tolerance policy to Covid. They have been known to very quickly lockdown affected areas and conduct mass testing of residents.
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