Beijing, Jan. 9 (PTI) China rushed to test 14 million Tianjin residents on Sunday as the port city near the capital sounded the alarm ahead of next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics in reporting a cluster of COVID-19 cases, including two with the dreaded Omicron variant.
Thousands of people commute between Tianjin and Beijing as it takes barely 30 minutes by high-speed train.
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Officials said Tianjin, a municipality next to Beijing, decided to start a city-wide nucleic acid test after 20 people tested positive for COVID-19.
The infections were reported on Friday and Saturday in Jinnan District and gene sequencing revealed that the first two locally transmitted confirmed cases were infected with the Omicron variant, the city’s COVID Prevention and Control Headquarters announced on Sunday. 19.
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Tianjin was the first Chinese city to report a few cases of Omicron in mid-December, but not much has been heard of its spread since then, while a significant spike in cases has been reported in the tourist city. in Xian and a few other cities, prompting authorities to resort to mass testing.
Besides the two Omicron cases, 18 other infections in Tianjin are mainly students and their family members linked to a daycare center and an elementary school where the first two cases were reported, said Gu Qing, director of the city commission. health, during a press conference. press conference.
That prompted local authorities to resort to mass testing of the 14 million people before its spread to Beijing as the capital is set to host the much-heralded Winter Olympics from February 4.
The coronavirus has spread for at least three generations during the latest resurgence, and more cases could emerge, said Zhang Ying, deputy director of the Tianjin City Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
City-wide nucleic acid testing is expected to be completed within 24 hours in four districts on Sunday and in 12 other districts on Monday, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Residents will not receive a green health code until they receive a negative test result, the headquarters said.
Meanwhile, the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) has reported 165 cases of COVID-19, 92 of which are transmitted locally.
Among the new local cases, 56 were reported in Henan, 30 in Shaanxi, three in Tianjin, two in Zhejiang and one in Guangdong, the commission said.
It also reported 73 new cases imported to 12 provincial level regions.
A total of 3,392 patients are still receiving treatment, including 26 in serious condition, he said.
The growing number of cases is cause for concern as China prepares to host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in a few weeks.
The Beijing Winter Olympics, the 24th edition of the showpiece that began in 1924, will be held from February 4 to 20.
Beijing will be the only city in the world to host the Winter Olympics and at the top. The city hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008.
(This is an unedited, auto-generated story from the Syndicated News Feed, the staff at LatestLY may not have edited or edited the body of the content)