Wuhan COVID-19 Outbreak Linked to ‘Unapproved’ Work Conference?

By Alistair Baker-Brian, February 23, 2022

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A number of recent COVID-19 cases across the Chinese mainland have been linked to a work conference which took place in Wuhan, provincial capital of Hubei. 

The conference took place over three days and included 66 participants, 24 of which later left Wuhan and traveled to various destinations. 

A total of 23 cases linked to the conference have been identified in Wuhan. Meanwhile, other related cases have been confirmed in Beijing, Qingdao and Shijiazhuang.

The conference took place in the Kailaixi hotel in Wuchang district and within the Huaqing Yuan residential community in Jiang’an district.

The conference was reportedly an annual training session for employees of US company NU SKIN which sells skincare and other cosmetic products. In China, the company is known by the name 如新 (ruxin). 

But this was no ordinary conference. According to Cover Story (封面报道) news outlet, NU SKIN’s China head office stated that the conference was organized without their approval by employees from the Shanghai division of the company. 

Assuming NU SKIN’s head office is telling the truth (we have no reason to doubt them), it’s perhaps not surprising that they were quick to distance themselves from this supposedly unapproved conference. At present, many local authorities across China stress that work conferences and training sessions should be limited to help stop the spread of COVID-19. 

In Beijing for example, current rules state that national conferences and training sessions are to be strictly limited. “Whoever organizes bears responsibility” and “Whoever gives approval bears responsibility” are the exact phrases used in the written rules. 

As of press time, the Chinese mainland has 160 mid-risk areas in Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Hubei, Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan and Yunnan. Meanwhile, there are five high-risk areas in Inner Mongolia, Liaoning and Guangxi. 

Two of those mid-risk areas are located in Wuhan. 

The central Chinese city grabbed the world’s attention back in early 2020 when a strict lockdown was implemented as a result of SARS-COV-2, the virus we now know causes COVID-19. 

The virus was first identified in Wuhan and initially linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, although numerous other theories have since emerged on the origins of the virus. 

That’s first reported on SARS-COV-2 with an article entitled “Mystery Pneumonia Cases Rise to 59 in China” published on January 7, 2020, before the Wuhan lockdown. Little did any of us know the impact that said “mystery” would have on the entire planet. 

READ MORE: Mystery Pneumonia Cases Rise to 59 in China

As the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region battle outbreaks of COVID-19, China has made clear its intention to continue implementing its ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ strategy, focused on eliminating the virus rather than trying to ‘live with it.’

As of press time, Beijing arguably has some of the strictest rules in place ahead of the Winter Paralympic Games due to start on March 4. 

[Cover image via @观察者网/Weibo]

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