The Chinese Communist government on Monday admitted to its worst coronavirus case numbers in over 20 months – creating some drama around “whether China can effectively put this round of flare-ups under control before the Beijing Winter Olympics in February,” as the state-run Global Times put it.
The Global Times blamed the surge of coronavirus cases on foreign visitors, minimized China’s travails while “the Omicron variant is causing havoc globally,” and predicted “China’s dynamic zero policy and previous experience in quelling domestic outbreaks will help curb the current epidemic.”
The Communist regime admitted to 200 new coronavirus infections on Monday, 150 of them in Xi’an, a provincial capital with a population of 13 million that has been under strict lockdown for the past week. Xi’an has now logged a total of 810 cases, including a 38-day-old infant boy.
On Sunday, local officials theatrically ordered all residents to shut their doors and windows while chemical trucks bathed the entire city in disinfectant. Even China’s normally obedient “netizens” seemed perplexed by the disinfection spectacle, with immunologists noting the procedure is expensive, unlikely to affect the coronavirus, and possibly counter-productive because it required Xi’an residents to shut down their ventilation systems.
The entire population of the city is now effectively under house arrest pending the results of mass coronavirus testing.
The Global Times harped on the omicron variant, which is supposedly unknown in China, as a far bigger threat to the Olympics than anything happening on Chinese soil:
The outbreak in Xi’an has spread to many cities across China, including Dongguan, South China’s Guangdong Province and Beijing, where the 2022 Winter Olympics will begin on February 4. Although this COVID-19 outbreak has increased the prevention pressure for China, Chinese health experts noted that China will ensure a safe international sports event since it can draw on lessons learned from previous experience in quelling local outbreaks.
Another concern is the global spread of the Omicron variant. The current anti-epidemic policies to guard the Beijing Winter Olympic Games have taken into full consideration of all possibilities, and the closed-loop management of people related to the Games will ensure they have no contact with the world outside of the closed loop, so the possibility of having COVID-19 is extremely low, Lu Hongzhou, head of the Third People’s Hospital of Shenzhen and member of the expert committee of national disease control and prevention, told the Global Times on Monday.
The Global Times quoted Chinese “experts” who confidently predicted their government’s superior pandemic control policies, in concert with high vaccination rates, would bring the outbreak under control. The experts forgot to mention that China’s vaccines do not work very well against earlier incarnations of the Chinese coronavirus and appear to be almost completely ineffective against omicron.
China’s coronavirus lockdowns expanded on Tuesday, with hundreds of thousands more people coming under home quarantine orders. The city of Yan’an, about 186 miles from Xi’an, shut down businesses and ordered residents to stay at home.
Meanwhile, people in Xi’an used social media to call for help, complaining they were left low on supplies when city officials hastily imposed strict lockdown rules.
“I’m about to be starved to death. There’s no food, my housing compound won’t let me out, and I’m about to run out of instant noodles … please help!” wrote one Xi’an resident quoted by AFP on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to hear any more news about how everything is fine,” grumbled another city-dweller. “So what if supplies are so abundant — they’re useless if you don’t actually give them to people.”