In Omicron’s epicenter in China, 279 checkpoints, a negative report to leave town

Tianjin confirmed its first two locally transmitted Omicron cases this weekend. (To file)

Beijing:

Cities across China are imposing tighter restrictions to try to control new outbreaks of COVID-19, with Tianjin now battling the highly contagious variant of Omicron, which has already been detected in at least two other provinces.

Officials in Tianjin told a press briefing on Tuesday that 49 cases had been confirmed during the latest outbreak. The city of 14 million people, about 100 km (62 miles) from Beijing, is now implementing strict new controls to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, especially in neighboring Beijing.

The outbreak in the city has been linked to cases in Anyang City in central China’s Henan Province, where there have been 84 confirmed infections since Saturday.

Residents leaving Tianjin will be forced to submit negative COVID-19 tests, with restrictions imposed by 279 checkpoints around the city, said Liu Daogang, vice director of Tianjin Transportation Department.

The country’s Omicron surge comes just weeks before the Lunar New Year, a peak travel time for millions of people, and cities in China are advising people to stay put, especially as Beijing gears up. to host the Winter Olympics early next month.

Zhang Boli, a government medical adviser, told state broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday that Omicron “cannot be taken lightly” even though the symptoms are not as severe as previous variants.

China has ordered the cancellation of more than two dozen scheduled flights from the United States after many passengers tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in China.

“Facing directly with Omicron, we found that the transmission speed was really very fast,” Zhang Ying, an official with the Tianjin Disease Control Center, said in an interview that aired on state television Monday night.

“Whether in terms of finding the origin of the virus or epidemiological investigations, the Omicron variant has brought unprecedented challenges and difficulties,” she said.

Locally transmitted

Tianjin confirmed its first two locally transmitted Omicron cases over the weekend, and Zhang said 20 infected people were found in the first 24 hours.

The city has imposed travel restrictions and launched a program of mass testing to help prevent the spread of the variant.

China reported 192 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus nationwide as of January 10, up from 157 a day earlier. Of the total, 110 were transmitted locally, up from 97 a day earlier.

There have been 87 cases in the densely populated Henan Province, according to a statement from the National Health Commission.

The provincial capital of Zhengzhou has closed non-essential public facilities like beauty salons, banned dining in restaurants and prevented taxis and ridesharing platforms from operating in quarantine zones, local officials said on Tuesday. a briefing.

Anyang from Henan confirmed on Monday that two of its new cases were on the same Omicron transmission chain as Tianjin. It is not known how many other cases in Henan are linked to Omicron.

Another Omicron infection was reported Monday in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, about 120 km (75 miles) from Shanghai on China’s east coast. The patient had traveled from Australia to Shanghai on January 5 before being transferred to Wuxi.

As the Lunar New Year approaches, other regions are leaving nothing to chance.

Authorities in the southeastern city of Shenzhen on Tuesday closed a metro station and urged residents not to purchase goods from high-risk countries.

The Southeast Island Province of Hainan, a popular tourist spot, also announced that visitors would have to test negative for COVID-19 before they can enter.

China also reported 50 new asymptomatic cases on Monday, which it categorizes separately from confirmed cases, up from 42.

There have been no new deaths, leaving the death toll at 4,636. As of Jan. 10, mainland China had 103,968 confirmed cases.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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