In the wake of the surge in new coronavirus infections in Beijing, the Chinese authorities have postponed the Beijing marathon until further notice, according to reports.
The development comes as the country's top health official warned that a new outbreak of cases is expected to spread further. China has reported more than 133 cases across 11 provinces in the last 24 hours and all of them have been connected to the highly transmissible Delta variant, the report adds. The latest surge is considered the largest outbreak in the country since Nanjing in August this year. Beijing has raised concerns over China's ability to maintain its zero-tolerance approach to the virus, especially leading up to the 2022 Winter Olympics, the report added.
Held annually since 1981, the Beijing marathon is one of China's biggest local sporting events. The race traditionally commences at Tiananmen Square and ends in Celebration Square in Beijing's Olympic Park. Around 30,000 people were expected to take part in the marathon, which was scheduled to take place on October 31.
Marathon organisers stated it was cancelling the event "in order to prevent the risk of the epidemic spreading and effectively protect the health and safety of the majority of runners, staff and residents".