Beijing ramps up Covid measures as 3 cases confirmed

Beijing has ramped up efforts to curb Covid-19 infections, ordering checks among cold-chain firms and urging residents to cut unnecessary gatherings, as the capital reported an uptick in local infections just over two weeks before the start of the Winter Olympics there.

Three domestically transmitted infections were confirmed on Wednesday, including one previously reported as a local asymptomatic carrier for January 18, according to local health authority data on Thursday.

That compares with just one local infection reported the day before.

Beijing has reported less than ten local Covid infections since January 15, with both the Delta and Omicron variants detected.

However, the city and China are still working under strict guidelines of getting any virus flare-up under control as soon as possible. The strategy takes on extra urgency as Beijing and neighbouring Hebei province will host the Winter Olympics from February 4, while the ongoing Lunar New Year travel season raises the risk of virus transmission nationwide.

Beijing should immediately launch full inspections over its cold-chain industry and make the testing of staffers and goods more frequent, the city government said in a statement late on Wednesday, after some infections were found among cold storage workers.

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Residents were advised to reduce movement and unnecessary gatherings, while children, the elderly and people in weaker health were told to avoid crowded public places.

The National Health Commission on Thursday reported a total of 43 local infections on the mainland, down from 55 a day earlier.

Central Henan Province accounted for 24 of the new cases, nine fewer than on Tuesday and significantly lower than the 102 cases reported on Monday.

Tianjin confirmed 14 new local infections while Guangdong reported two, the commission said. (Reuters, additional reporting by Xinhua)

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