For two years, the Chinese authorities have exercised a heavy-handed approach to keep the ongoing pandemic out of the capital in order to host a Covid-19 free Winter Olympics. But only a couple of weeks before the opening ceremony, the first case of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus was just reported in Beijing.
The arrival of Covid-19 to Beijing is the topic for today’s political satire by Niklas “@Kludd-Niklas” Eriksson, published every second Monday here on Kinamedia, Sweden’s biggest news site on China.
It is unclear how the authorities will respond to the case. On the one hand, a lockdown of the size and strictness that took place in the megacity of Xi’an during the last few weeks would not look could just before the start of the Olympics. On the other hand, Beijing will still want to host the games free from Covid.
So far, the working place and residential compound of Beijing’s patient zero in the district of Haidian has already been cordoned off, and some 2,430 test samples from people that can be linked to those areas collected.
There are, however, more reasons for Beijing to worry about than just the Haidian district. The first reported Omicron case in the capital comes just a week after an Omicron case was reported in the port city of Tianjin, a mere 30 minutes train ride from the capital.
In total, local transmission of Omicron has been reported in at least five provinces or municipalities, including China’s biggest city Shanghai and its largest province Guangdong.
This week tensions will no doubt run high in Beijing. As the leadership still want to reap the benefits of its coercive measures by displaying to the surrounding its success in controlling the spread of the virus, will Omicron destroy the party? (Pun intended.)
This week’s cartoon can be viewed in full size via this link.
A full collection of Kludd-Niklas’ works for Kinamedia can be seen here.