Local virus transmission dips in China, raising Olympics hopes

Heightened measures bear results as no cases reported in hotspot Shaanxi province after 40 days.

Local virus transmission dips in China, raising Olympics hopes

China’s daily tally of local transmission virus cases dropped significantly on Wednesday, a welcome boost in its bid to rein in the latest outbreak ahead of next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics.

The National Health Commission (NHC) recorded 55 domestic cases throughout the country, well below the figures of over 100 seen in recent days.

The northwestern Shaanxi province, where a lockdown has been in place in the capital Xi’an for weeks, had no local case for the first time since Dec. 9, NHC data showed.

The central Henan province accounted for 33 infections, while 14 were in the northern city of Tianjin.

The latest outbreak in Shaanxi “was the largest domestically-transmitted epidemic (in China) since the Wuhan outbreak, with the largest number of cases and the largest scale for a megacity,” Chinese daily Global Times reported.

The province registered 2,077 cases of domestic transmission in the past 40 days – 2,050 of them were in Xi’an.

The NHC also logged 32 imported COVID-19 cases throughout China.

The country’s overall count since the start of the pandemic now stands at 105,345, including 4,636 deaths.

China has ramped up measures to ward off the virus as it races to prepare for the Winter Olympics due to kick off Feb. 4.

Authorities have particularly increased vigilance because of the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays, urging people to avoid travel for the week-long break starting Feb. 1.

Meanwhile, the country’s State Post Bureau announced that “at least four rounds of disinfection will be carried out for international mail arriving in China.”

The statement came after several cases of contaminated mail were reported in the capital Beijing and the cities of Zhuhai and Shenzhen.

Hüseyin Demir