No to the New Year

Happy Birthday Everyone!

In case you had forgotten, at the beginning of the Lunar (or Chinese) New Year an extra year is added to everyone’s age. If you were born at the end of the Old Year it would mean you were two years old in the New Year. A drawback for anyone hoping to play for their county’s minors.  

(My birthdays is listed as I January.)

In China this New Year’s celebrations won’t differ from last year’s which were cancelled by a lockdown.  Thanks to intensive efforts early in 2020, the country was almost free of the virus until the beginning of this year. An outbreak was reported in the northern city of Shijiazuang and by 7 January there were 123 symptomatic and 181 asymptomatic cases there.

Immediately the country was once more declared ‘at war’ with the virus and people were confined to their houses until further notice.

The entire population of the Shijiazhuang (11 million) was tested within a week and a week later a second round of tests was finished in three days. There is no travel in or out, or inside, the city. Factories and offices are closed. Everything stopped. The virus continued however so there was a third round of tests.

Not unexpectedly in these anti-religion days, a rumour started that a foreign priest had brought the virus to Shijiazhuang.  Although there is no international travel and foreign priests are not welcome in China the story spread quickly through social media and the Church took a lot of violent criticism. Eventually a government official stated the rumour was untrue and the attacks have simmered down.  

The ‘we are at war’ approach puts a stop to any celebrations again this year. However it won’t stop you from becoming another year older.

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