China’s capital Beijing has asked its residents not to make unnecessary trips out of the city during the upcoming Winter Olympic and Paralympics games to limit the potential for spreading Covid-19.

A statement from city authorities said the metropolis is seeking “to ensure zero local infection, the successful hosting of the Winter Olympic Games and the Winter Paralympic Games, and that the public has joyful, peaceful and tranquil holidays.”

It is also requesting some work-based gatherings to be held online rather than in person.

The Winter Olympics and Paralympics, which run from February 4 to 20 and March 4 to 13 next year, respectively, take place during a holiday season in China that typically sees larger numbers of Beijing’s migrant workers travel home to visit family (as was the case in 2019, which was one factor behind the virus’ initial surge in the country).

This raises the potential for Covid-19 cases arising in Beijing as a result of the games and then exported around the country.

Beijing recorded only four cases yesterday and 14 in the last month due to stringent Covid-19 countermeasures in China.

The Winter Olympics is to go ahead within a closed-loop management system designed to minimize unnecessary interaction and any potential transmission between participants and the Chinese population.

All games participants are to be tested for Covid-19 daily, physical interaction between participants is to be limited, and thorough hygiene protocols enacted.