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Delta Variant Prompts Beijing to Cancel Large August Events

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Health authorities in Beijing announced the city would cancel all large-scale exhibitions and events for the remainder of August, according to state media, the latest sign of economic disruption due to the fast-spreading Delta variant.

China has been battling a series of Covid-19 outbreaks caused by the variant since mid-July, with new cases numbering 62 nationwide on Wednesday, according to the country’s National Health Commission. The events were canceled after authorities confirmed three cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 on Wednesday caused by the Delta variant.

“Prevention and control of the epidemic is currently the most important priority for the entire city of Beijing, top to bottom,” China’s official state-run Xinhua News Agency said, citing officials with the city’s Covid-19 response team.

Beijing’s decision comes less than a day after organizers canceled the New York International Auto Show due to concern over rising Covid-19 cases tied to the Delta variant and new related restrictions, and country music megastar Garth Brooks said he was considering whether to finish his stadium tour this year.

Meanwhile, U.S. budget carrier

Frontier Airlines

said Wednesday that its bookings had started to slow more than they typically would at this time of year and attributed the shift to Covid-19 cases associated with the Delta variant.

China is facing its most widespread Covid-19 outbreak in months with more than 200 cases linked to the city of Nanjing. Authorities kept tight border controls and ramped up vaccination drives, but the Delta variant is challenging their pandemic response. Photo: Alex Plavevski/Shutterstock

Among the large events canceled in Beijing is the third annual World 5G Conference, a mobile internet industry gathering that was scheduled to take place in a 215,000 square-foot exhibition center in southern Beijing from Friday through Sunday. China’s three major state-run telecom operators, as well as

Qualcomm

and

Nokia,

were expected to participate.

The same venue is scheduled to host the World Robot Conference later this month. Organizers of that, which attracted 300,000 visitors in 2019 before Covid-19, said Thursday that they were awaiting orders from the Beijing government and expected to be told to postpone.

Write to Josh Chin at [email protected]

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