China says Beijing marathon postponed ‘until further notice’ amid Covid spike

China says Beijing marathon postponed ‘until further notice’ amid Covid spike
Wuhan marathon, in which some 26,000 people were expected to participate, was also cancelled

China has decided to postpone the Beijing marathon “until further notice” in the wake of surging Covid-19 cases across the country, organisers said.

China registered 39 new Covid-19 cases on Monday even as the country aims to return to zero cases ahead of the Winter Olympics.

The Beijing marathon organisers said in a statement on Sunday that the run would be postponed until further notice “in order to prevent the risk of the epidemic spreading (and) effectively protect the health and safety of the majority of runners, staff and residents.”

The Wuhan marathon, scheduled to take place on Sunday, was also cancelled on very short notice amid fears of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the country. Nearly 26,000 participants were expected to take place in the city of Wuhan where coronavirus was first discovered.

More than 30,000 people were expected to take part in the Beijing marathon on 31 October.

China has reported more than 133 cases of Delta variant of the coronavirus in 11 of its provinces so far. This latest surge is considered the largest outbreak in the country since Nanjing in August this year.

Chinese health officials have been trying to contain the spread of Covid-19 infections by mass testing residents, targeted lockdowns, and other measures.

“It is absolutely worrying if a single flaw can affect many provinces and regions across the country… it shows that our systematic progress in fighting the epidemic needs to be strengthened,” reported the Global Times newspaper.

Health officials have blamed the latest surge in infections on travel clusters from abroad.

Authorities, in fact, suspended inter-provincial tour groups in five areas where the latest cases have been registered. Meanwhile, in Beijing, authorities will not allow people with travel history to affected counties into the city.

It was reported that some cities, including Gansu’s provincial capital of Lanzhou, and parts of Inner Mongolia have suspended bus and taxi services and closed tourist sites.

About 75 per cent of China’s population is fully immunised.

On 27 October, Beijing will mark 100 days before the Winter Olympics, which are set to open on 4 February.

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