With the Winter Olympics in Beijing set to start in just a few weeks, the CCP is still struggling to suppress a handful of small but alarming outbreaks of COVID, several of which have involved cases of the omicron variant.
And now, in the capital city, Beijing officials are warning locals not to order items and products from abroad, because they’re worried that COVID might be carried into the country on the outsides of these packages. Or at least that’s what they want the public to think.
Chinese authorities have been warning for years that COVID might be spread on the packaging of foodstuffs and other goods shipped internationally, something that many scientists have questioned, but that Chinese authorities have nonetheless kept alive with their state-controlled media.
One woman who apparently tested positive for the virus, then traces of the virus had been found on the packaging, or so at least Chinese authorities say.
All of this is happening as authorities have imposed tough restrictions on Beijing as it prepares to host the Olympics. For example, all new arrivals to the city must take a virus test within a day of travel to show that they are testing negative, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.
Health official Pang Xinghuo told reporters on Monday that the virus had been found on the surface of a letter the infected person had received from Canada, as well as inside the unopened letter, according to AFP.
Dozens of letters from the same batch were tested, and five showed positive traces of COVID, Pang said, including samples from inside unopened letters. Beijing’s CDC said the possibility that the woman was infected by a parcel from another country could not be ruled out.
Nordea’s economists still expect China’s economy to grow at a pace of 5% over the next year, despite the risk posed by omicron. China’s growth outlook stabilized in the last quarter of 2021.
The main factors that adversely affected China’s growth prospects in the second half of 2021 were the tight COVID policy and the real estate sector slowdown. They are expected to continue to dampen. And on a positive note, the shortage of electricity has eased since the start of October. Beijing’s real problem, according to Nordea, is that it doesn’t seem to have an “exit strategy” from its “COVID Zero” lockdown-centric approach.
Meanwhile, in Tianjin, a port city that’s just 130 Km from Beijing, another 80 local cases of COVID have been reported, the biggest daily jump yet. The city and the port are still open and running as authorities have locked down a handful of neighborhoods in the city.
For the record, Tianjin, which is situated about 30 minutes by train from Beijing, is one of China’s largest cities by population and home to one of its most active ports. It is the “recommended” port of entry for goods for the Winter Olympics and operations have not been affected by the outbreak, according to the state-controlled local media.