After Covid-19, smog alert in Beijing before the Winter Olympics | world news


After registering around 43 positive Covid-19 cases in just over a week, Beijing’s notorious smog has re-emerged as a new irritant for the city ahead of the Winter Olympics.

The authorities have warned that the weather conditions are likely to be extremely unfavorable during the Games, from February 4, causing heavy pollution. “The Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics coincide with the end of winter and the beginning of spring in northern China, when the weather conditions are extremely unfavorable,” the Chinese ministry spokesperson said on Monday. of the Environment, Liu Youbin.

“When heavy pollution is expected, all localities will launch emergency plans,” Liu was quoted by Chinese state media as saying.

Beijing has seen severe pollution over the past two days with concentrations of dangerous airborne particles known as PM2.5 at 205 micrograms per cubic meter Monday morning.

The World Health Organization says the number should not exceed 5.

Liu said local authorities would launch emergency responses to manage and control businesses and vehicles to tackle air pollution, but balancing it with economic activity.

Meanwhile, Games organizers said there were 177 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among 3,115 Olympics-related international arrivals from January 4 to January 23; one was an athlete or support staff member, according to Beijing 2022 data released on Sunday and Monday.

Beijing reported nine locally transmitted Covid-19 cases on Monday, including five confirmed cases and four asymptomatic carriers through 4 p.m. Sunday.

Since Jan. 15, the city has reported a total of 43 local Covid-19 cases, including six attributable to the Omicron variant and 37 to the Delta variant, said Pang Xinghuo, deputy head of the municipal disease prevention and control center. diseases. the Xinhua news agency.

Beijing 2022 eases Covid restrictions for Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Chinese authorities have lowered the threshold for producing a negative Covid-19 test for any participant arriving at the Games, lowering the cycle threshold (Ct) value from 40 to 35.

A communication from Beijing 2022 was sent on Sunday explaining the change, according to reports.

The changes, which take effect immediately and apply retrospectively, “have been developed to further adapt to the reality of the current environment and to support Games participants,” the IOC said in a statement.

“The slight relaxation of rules for Games participants comes despite the fact that four other Chinese provinces discovered recorded infections linked to the Beijing cluster amid the Lunar New Year travel season,” Reuters said in a report.

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