Three locations urge citizens to stay put during Spring Festival to prevent COVID-19 resurgence

An outbreak control officer checks the nucleic acid test results of a truck driver on a highway in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, December 3, 2021, after 10 newly discovered COVID-19 cases the day before prompted the city to tighten its control policies. Photo: Xinhua

Three locations, including a location for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, have issued notices to encourage citizens and workers to celebrate the upcoming Spring Festival in areas where they work to prevent the resurgence of COVID- 19. Experts called on local governments to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and take COVID-19 prevention measures accordingly, to balance virus prevention and secure people’s lives.

The Zhangjiakou Economic and Technological Development Zone, where the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games will be held, on Thursday announced that leaders and staff of local government-related institutions and state-owned enterprises are expected to stay in the city during the New Year. Chinese year. Those who really need to leave the city must obtain prior authorization.

They should also deter relatives and friends from medium and high risk areas from coming to Zhangjiakou, according to the announcement.

Zhangjiakou, located 180 kilometers from Beijing, will host 51 events in six disciplines – biathlon, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding – during the Olympic Winter Games, which will take place over 54 days. No other area or district in Zhangjiakou had announced similar policies at the time of publication.

Two other locations – one in southern China’s Guangdong Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region – have made similar appeals.

Sanxiang County of Zhongshan City in Guangdong on Saturday urged employees of various companies in the city not to leave Guangdong if it is not necessary.

Pingxiang city in southern China’s Guangxi last week called on local traders and workers to stay put during the Spring Festival.

Some universities in Beijing, including Peking University and Renmin University of China, have announced their intention to start the winter break a week earlier. Others have announced plans to complete in-class courses by the end of November and allow students to take final exams online.

“Strict measures must be taken to prevent and control COVID-19, especially before the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics,” said Zhang Boli, medical expert and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, at an annual forum hosted by the Global Times. the Saturday.

Zhang said he believes the global pandemic situation will improve after the end of the Winter Olympics as the weather warms. “By then, the Chinese could benefit from greater flexibility in transportation and travel, as the country could relax its anti-pandemic policies,” Zhang added.

“As the risks of domestic transmission of the coronavirus may increase over the coming New Year and the Spring Festival, increased efforts must be made to control the pandemic through a scientific and targeted approach to ensure a healthy and safe festival for all Chinese, “Wu Liangyou, deputy director of the National Health Commission, said at a press conference on Saturday.

Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at Peking University’s First Hospital, told the Global Times on Sunday that it was still too early to decide whether other places should follow suit by asking residents to stay put during the New Year. Chinese year.

“China is emphasizing precise control of the pandemic based on different conditions in different regions instead of implementing the same policy across the country. The precise control of the pandemic reflects the balance that China is trying to maintain between preventing the spread of the pandemic and ensuring people have a normal life, ”Wang said.