Coronavirus Forces China to Postpone Beijing Marathon

Participants compete during the 2021 Beijing Half Marathon at Tiananmen Square on April 24, 2021 in Beijing, China. More than 10,000 people participated in the race. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Government authorities in Beijing announced Sunday they would postpone the upcoming Beijing Marathon — originally scheduled for October 31 — until an unknown date in an effort to contain a new outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus in the national capital, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

The 2021 Beijing Marathon was expected to draw 30,000 participants to Beijing, a city of nearly 21 million people, by the end of October. The event’s organizers issued a statement on October 24 saying they decided to postpone the race “until further notice in order to prevent the risk of the epidemic spreading (and) effectively protect the health and safety of the majority of runners, staff, and residents.”

Chinese government health officials reported 39 new cases of coronavirus in China on October 25, 35 of them local. Communist Party authorities have blamed China’s latest resurgence of the virus — first reported on October 19 — on a Chinese tour group that allegedly contracted the coronavirus from foreign sources in Mongolia.

“The latest spate of infections has now affected 11 provinces and is linked to the Delta variant,” Singapore’s Straits Times reported October 25, citing official statements by Chinese health officials.

“Most of the cases were linked to domestic tourists, given the country’s closed borders,” the government officials claimed.

A resident undergoes a nucleic acid test for the coronavirus in Xian in China's northern Shaanxi province on October 20, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

A resident undergoes a nucleic acid test for the coronavirus in Xian in China’s northern Shaanxi province on October 20, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“According to a senior health official, over 100 infections in the current outbreak were linked to holidaymakers, including those who had gone on a self-driving holiday,” the Straits Times relayed.

The cases have spread to Beijing in recent days, where local Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities are allegedly punishing residents for trying to treat their own symptoms via over-the-counter products.

“In Beijing, the authorities have shut several pharmacies after several patients — infected after a road trip to Inner Mongolia — tried to self-medicate in a bid to avoid the onerous measures that come with testing positive,” the Straits Times revealed.

Continuing, the newspaper detailed the hardhanded crackdown by CCP authorities:

Police have launched three investigations into alleged breach of Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] measures, including two infected people who initially concealed their symptoms, two residents escaping lockdown by climbing over a fence, and two pharmacy managers who sold cough and fever medicine in a breach of Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] restrictions.

“Anyone buying cold or flu medicine has to register, in case he later turns out to have the virus,” the publication added.

The Chinese government’s decision on October 24 to postpone the Beijing Marathon occurred just a few days after authorities in the central Chinese city of Wuhan similarly opted to postpone the city’s Wuhan Marathon, also citing the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide. Wuhan Marathon organizers issued a statement late last week saying they had postponed the race “to prevent the risk of epidemic spread.”

“The event was expected to have 26,000 participants, taking part in races including a full marathon and half marathon, in the city where coronavirus was first identified towards the end of 2019,” AFP reported on October 24, citing Chinese state media.

“The organizing committee said it would refund the registration fees of contestants who successfully signed up,” the news agency revealed, suggesting the race may be canceled and not just postponed.

“The cancellations come as Beijing will on Wednesday [October 27] mark 100 days before the Winter Olympics, which are set to open February 4,” AFP observed.

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