Tibet’s Potala Palace closes down amid coronavirus surge

Beijing, Aug 9 (EFE).- The Potala Palace, the fortified monastery in Tibet’s capital Lhasa that used to be the Daila Lama’s winter residence, has closed its doors to the public amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the Himalayan region.

Regional authorities confirmed 22 positive cases in the last 48 hours and over 400 close contacts are in isolation, local media reported.

Tibet had not recorded Covid-19 infections for more than 920 days.

The first four positives, recorded Sunday, were people from other parts of the region who were visiting Burang county, bordering Nepal and India.

Tibet had previously recorded only one Covid-19 case, in late January 2020.

China maintains a strict “zero-tolerance” Covid policy which has managed to contain various outbreaks since the start of the pandemic through multiple lockdowns, mass testing and the near complete closure of its borders to international travelers.

Although the arrival of the Omicron variant has threatened the effectiveness of this approach, Beijing has insisted that it will maintain the policy to curb any future outbreaks. EFE


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