2 weeks out from the Olympics, Beijing has locked down an office building with workers still inside and intensified restrictions after one Omicron case was detected

·3 min read
The Olympic rings beside the Big Air Shougang, a venue of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Just weeks before the 2022 Winter Olympic Games are set to kick off, Beijing reported its first Omicron case.Yi Haifei/China News Service via Getty Images
  • Beijing is tightening its COVID-19 restrictions after finding a case of the Omicron virus variant.

  • All inbound travelers are required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in the city.

  • The city has sealed off the area the infected person visited, and locked down an office building.

China is just two weeks from the 2022 Winter Olympics' opening ceremony, but Beijing is tightening COVID-19 controls after a coronavirus infection caused by the Omicron variant was detected there.

The Chinese capital is locking down areas visited by the person who tested positive. CNN reported that people were seen moving bedding and pillows into an office building where the infected person's colleagues had been locked down.

According to a report from the local state-linked media outlet Beijing Daily, dozens of staff members inside the Beijing office building have been in lockdown since 10 p.m. local time on Saturday. Beijing Daily published WeChat messages sent from the people inside the building, begging for beds to be left outside the building for the stranded workers.

While the Chinese capital has not gone into full lockdown, all inbound travelers are now required to get an additional COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in the city, per a report from Beijing Daily.

Travelers to the city had already been required to test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours before leaving for the city, per Reuters.

Beijing reported its Omicron case on Saturday. According to Reuters, the infected person's residential compound and workplace are under lockdown.

Beijing detected the Omicron infection less than a week after Tianjin, a neighboring northern city, detected 97 COVID-19 cases in the city and subjected its entire population of 14 million people to compulsory COVID-19 testing.

China's COVID-zero pandemic response involves swift lockdowns after COVID-19 infections are detected.

As of January 11, about 20 million people across China were under COVID-19 lockdown protocols. The city of Xi'an, where 13 million people live, was put under lockdown on December 23 after recording about 1,000 COVID-19 cases between December 9 and December 23. Yuzhou, a central Chinese city home to 1.2 million people, was put under lockdown in January after authorities detected three asymptomatic cases. And Anyang, a city of 5.5 million residents, also faced restrictions after two reported cases of the Omicron variant.

The Beijing Olympics are scheduled to begin February 4. The country plans to implement a "closed-loop" bubble, in which athletes, officials, broadcasters, and journalists may move only within designated locales. The Associated Press reported that athletes would be required to take daily COVID-19 tests and spectators wouldn't be allowed to chant when cheering on the athletes and would be restricted to clapping.

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