søndag 23. januar 2022

Beijing's Olympic 'bubble' will be the most ambitious Covid quarantine ever attempted. Will it work?

The Winter Games is just two weeks away and outside Beijing's Olympic venues, the banners and decorations are up. But so too are long rows of metal fences and guard posts, dividing the Chinese capital and barring anyone without an official Covid-safe pass.

Having been largely sealed off from the world for two years, Beijing is bracing itself for the arrival of thousands of foreign Olympians, officials, journalists and support staff -- including from countries where the highly transmissible Omicron variant is raging.

Whether Chinese authorities can keep the Games Covid-safe and prevent any flare-ups from spilling into Beijing is the ultimate test of China's zero-Covid strategy. The stringent prevention and control measures are held up by the ruling Communist Party as proof of the self-proclaimed superiority of its authoritarian political system. The strategy has kept infections and deaths low -- but it has also inflicted painful lockdowns on millions of people and isolated China from the world.