Covid cases rise before the Communist party

China is facing its largest flare-up of Covid cases in a month, complicating its preparations for an all-important Communist Party meeting where Xi Jinping is expected to expand his authority.

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In Xinjiang in the far west, officials imposed a near-total lockdown and made a rare admission of failure in handling a Covid outbreak. In Inner Mongolia in the north, the authorities vowed “all-out” efforts to cut the spread of the virus. And in Yunnan in the south, a popular travel destination, the government cancelled flights, trapping crowds of angry tourists at an airport.

The resurgence of Covid comes as China prepares for the Oct. 18 start of its twice-a-decade Communist Party congress, a major event where Mr Xi is expected to cement his hold on power. With the country’s capital under strict lockdown and officials scrambling to contain the outbreaks, the party meeting now faces the possibility of being overshadowed by the virus.

covid

The resurgence also shows China’s efforts to present itself as largely having contained the pandemic, even as it rages elsewhere. The country has sought to use its apparent success in controlling Covid to promote its model of authoritarian rule as an effective way to deal with global challenges.

But the new cases show that even China, with its vast resources and experience in managing disease outbreaks, is not immune to resurgences of the virus.

The recent outbreaks have been concentrated in three areas: Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Yunnan.

Xinjiang has been hit particularly hard, with more than 1,000 cases reported in the past week. On Wednesday, the regional government announced a “wartime” mode of operation, saying all urban residents would be required to stay home and that travel between cities would be banned.

The lockdown was a rare admission of failure by the region’s authorities, who have long sought to downplay the extent of the outbreak there. Recently, officials insisted that the situation was “basically stable” and played up their efforts to control it.

But on Tuesday, Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, called for “decisive measures” to stop the spread of the virus in Xinjiang. And on Wednesday, the region’s governor, Shohrat Zakir, acknowledged that the outbreak had been “severe and complicated.”

The regional government has also blamed the outbreak on residents who have returned from other parts of China, saying they brought the virus back with them. Officials have announced a series of measures to restrict travel in and out of Xinjiang, including banning all nonessential trips by residents and suspending flights and trains to and from the region.

Inner Mongolia, meanwhile, has reported more than 200 cases in the past week. On Tuesday, the regional government announced a “wartime” mode of operation, saying all urban residents would be required to stay home and that travel between cities would be banned.

The lockdown was a rare admission of failure by the region’s authorities, who have long sought to downplay the extent of the outbreak there. Recently, officials insisted that the situation was “basically stable” and played up their efforts to control it.

But on Tuesday, Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, called for “decisive measures” to stop the spread of the virus in Inner Mongolia. And on Wednesday, the region’s governor, Shohrat Zakir, acknowledged that the outbreak had been “severe and complicated.”

The regional government has also blamed the outbreak on residents who have returned from other parts of China, saying they brought the virus back with them. Officials have announced a series of measures to restrict travel in and out of Inner Mongolia, including banning all nonessential trips by residents and suspending flights and trains to and from the region.

In Yunnan, more than 1,000 cases have been reported in the past week. On Tuesday, the provincial government announced a “wartime” mode of operation, saying all urban residents would be required to stay home and that travel between cities would be banned.

The lockdown was a rare admission of failure by the province’s authorities, who have long sought to downplay the extent of the outbreak there. Recently, officials insisted that the situation was “basically stable” and played up their efforts to control it.

But on Tuesday, Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, called for “decisive measures” to stop the spread of the virus in Yunnan. And on Wednesday, the province’s governor, Shohrat Zakir, acknowledged that the outbreak had been “severe and complicated.”

The provincial government has also blamed the outbreak on residents who have returned from other parts of China, saying they brought the virus back with them. Officials have announced a series of measures to restrict travel in and out of Yunnan, including banning all nonessential trips by residents and suspending flights and trains to and from the province.

The outbreak in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Yunnan comes as China is facing its largest flare-up of Covid cases in a month, complicating its preparations for an all-important Communist Party meeting where Xi Jinping is expected to expand his authority.

The party congress is scheduled to begin on October 18 in Beijing, and the Chinese government has been working to ensure it goes off without a hitch. But the resurgence of the virus has created new challenges, with officials scrambling to contain outbreaks while also trying to keep the party meeting on track.

What do you think of these measures?

Do you think they will be effective in stopping the spread of the virus?

Do you think China is doing enough to prepare for the party congress?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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