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Beijing reports Omicron case 3 weeks before Winter Olympics

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(Bloomberg) – Beijing has reported the first case of the omicron variant of Covid-19 in the city, adding pressure on authorities to stem a potential outbreak less than three weeks before the start of the Winter Olympics.

Authorities confirmed the detection of the highly contagious strain at a press conference on Saturday. People who had contact with the patient are being tested and those who were in places the infected person visited should report it to authorities, they said.

Cases of Omicron were confirmed earlier Saturday in Shanghai and Guangdong province, as the National Health Commission warned of possible outbreaks in those areas.

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China says Omicron outbreak not yet affecting Olympic plans

China added 104 local Covid-19 cases on Friday as areas including Xi’an, Tianjin, Zhengzhou and Shenzhen locked down residential buildings. The country’s virus prevention measures are “effective” in containing the omicron, a health official said during a National Health Commission briefing earlier today.

The Winter Olympics begin February 4 in Beijing. The nation has pledged to hold “simple, safe and splendid” games, unlike the spectacle of the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008. The Winter Games are also facing headwinds from a diplomatic boycott led by the United States, on what Washington says. are China’s “crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses”, allegations that Beijing vehemently denies.

Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom joined the protest, and Japan said it would not send any government officials, although it avoided the term “diplomatic boycott”.

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