Beijing to test 2 million people for COVID-19 ahead of Winter Olympics
- Beijing is set to test at least two million people in the Fengtai district starting Sunday
- The neighbourhood has been identified as the epicentre of a cluster of six fresh infections
- The capital city will be hosting this year's Winter Olympics, slated to begin on February 4
Beijing is set to test at least two million people in the Fengtai district starting Sunday, officials have said.
This includes all residents of the neighbourhood in the southern part of the city, where a small cluster of COVID-19 infects was detected, AFP reported.
The Fengtai district has been identified as the epicentre of a cluster of six fresh infections. The total number of COVID-19 infections now stands at 34 in China's Beijing, one of the world's most populous cities.
The capital city will be hosting this year's Winter Olympics, slated to begin on February 4. In line with China's 'zero-COVID' approach, extensive steps have been taken by authorities to mitigate any spread of the variant through Beijing, according to reports.
Testing and containment measures were ramped up after the city recorded its first locally transmitted infection of the highly transmissible omicron variant of coronavirus on February 15.
The organising committee had recently announced that tickets for the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games will not be sold to the general public.
"In terms of the grim and complex situation of epidemic prevention and control [and] in order to protect the health and safety of Olympic personnel and spectators, we have decided to change the original plan of public ticket sales," the committee stated, according to a CNN report.
Beijing's plan for the Winter Olympics this year is to organise the event in a 'closed-loop system', only accessible to the participants. Strict measures, regular testing, daily health monitoring, and a complete cut off from the general public, would be implemented to safely conduct the games.
"It is too soon to conclude that Omicron will swamp China's efforts to suppress COVID," Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, said in a note on Friday, reported Reuters.
"But it is clear that the emergence of more transmissible variants is requiring more frequent interventions ... And the economic toll from this vigilance is mounting," she added.
(With inputs from agencies)