Chinese state media on Wednesday acknowledged the coronavirus outbreaks in Beijing and other cities have grown more serious, but confidently predicted they would be fully under control before the Beijing Winter Olympics begin in a few weeks.
“Beijing tightened anti-epidemic measures and urged all departments to fend off Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] flare-ups in the city with all-round measures ahead of the Winter Olympics, after four Covid-19 infections, with both the Delta and Omicron variants, were detected in three days,” the state-run Global Times breathlessly reported Wednesday.
The Global Times pushed China’s new narrative that all of its coronavirus infections were delivered by mail from Canada, although it grudgingly allowed that one of the Beijing patients does not appear to have opened any parcels from Toronto recently.
“The anti-epidemic group in Beijing has already acted swiftly in a bid to cut off further viral transmission within the city, and given the country’s experience in handling Omicron and Delta, the capital city’s domestic flare-up should be controllable very soon and would cause a limited impact on the Olympics,” the report declared, quoting various municipal officials calling for “vigilant” attitudes and “speedy” measures.
The Global Times rounded up some local “experts” to declare Beijing’s “model” policies for epidemic control and mass testing would “quickly” contain the small outbreak, even as other cities plunge into strict lockdowns over supposedly tiny numbers of coronavirus infections.
Another Global Times report on Wednesday announced Beijing’s “closed-loop” management strategy for the Winter Olympics is now in effect – a system that effectively quarantines the Olympic venues, reroutes city traffic to keep them isolated, and bars ordinary residents of Beijing from attending the Games.
The report quoted municipal and Olympic officials who said the closed-loop system passed its final tests last week with flying colors, including “epidemic prevention and control,” without unduly inconveniencing Beijing residents.
The loop is very tightly closed indeed for Olympic spectators, since the general public will not be allowed to purchase tickets, leaving only “designated” and extensively screened spectators in the stands.
One of the invited spectators told the Global Times the requirements included full vaccination plus booster shots, two nucleic acid tests within 96 hours of attending the Games, zero contact with confirmed Chinese coronavirus carriers for the past 14 days, and no infections reported in their entire community for the past 14 days.
The latter conditions should be easy to meet, since Chinese officials claim there have only been a few hundred confirmed coronavirus infections in the entire country over the past month, even in the gigantic cities that were locked down like prisons and sprayed with clouds of disinfectant.
Other sources told the Global Times most of the invited spectators will be Beijing university students and employees of state-run enterprises. They will be provided with transportation to the Games, and possibly some coaching to make them appropriately excited about the events, since Beijing Olympic officials belatedly realized their “designated” audience members might not actually know much about the sports they have been assigned to watch.
“I am convinced that as the Chinese government and people have put in place the comprehensive and effective dynamic zero-Covid policy under the leadership of the [Chinese Communist Party], you can rest assured that there will be sound epidemic prevention measures for the Beijing Winter Olympics,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian declared at his Monday press conference.