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China enforces lockdown in provinces to curb COVID spread ahead of Winter Olympics

China enforces lockdown in provinces to curb COVID spread ahead of Winter Olympics

Beijing: The governing body of Yuzhou city in China has announced a strict lockdown on the 1.17 million residents of the urban area after the discovery of 3 asymptomatic Covid-19 cases, as China races to prevent its caseload from rising ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics to be held in February.

Schools, shopping malls, tourist attractions and public transport services had all been shut down earlier and residents have been told to stay at home according to a statement posted by civic authorities, an AFP report said. The report quoted the statement as saying that "sentinels and gates to strictly implement epidemic prevention and control measures".

China reported another 175 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, including five in Henan province and eight more in a separate cluster linked to a garment factory in the eastern city of Ningbo. The total numbers are some of the highest per day since the first outbreak of the epidemic in 2020, which has prompted even stricter crackdowns from local authorities.

The ruling Communist Party of China has announced that several officials in various provinces across the country had been disciplined for not taking "rigorous action" against the spread of Covid-19 in their respective areas. In Xi'an, a historic city in the province bordering Beijing, two senior Communist Party officials were removed from their posts over their "insufficient rigour in preventing and controlling the outbreak". The city has reported 95 cases today.

The Winter Olympics have been contentious on a political front with countries like the USA and Australia announcing a "diplomatic boycott" of the Games. Official representation from the government would boycott the Olympics even as athletes were permitted to attend. The move has drawn condemnation from China, which has accused the US of politicising the issue.

Diplomatic boycotts have been announced in response to alleged human rights violations regarding the Uyghur Muslim population in China which various rights groups have claimed are being forcibly detained and made to labour for the government.

The Islamic Global Imam's Association has also declared it prohibited to participate or attend the Winter Olympics on account of the violation of "Chinese Muslims' basic human and fundamental rights through oppression, torture, and dictatorship" in a statement published on December 30 2021.

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TAGS:LockdownChinaUyghur MuslimsCovid-19Winter Olympics
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