BEIJING ( Associated Press) – The northern Chinese city of Tianjin on Wednesday ordered a second round of COVID-19 testing on all 14 million residents after it discovered 97 cases of the Omicron variant during a preliminary investigation that began on Sunday.
The official Xinhua news agency said residents are to remain there until the results of all nucleic acid tests are received.
Xinhua said authorities have conducted nearly 12 million tests so far, with 7.8 million samples returned. The infection was first reported on Saturday in the city, which is just an hour away from Beijing, which is to host the Winter Olympics from February 4.
The city’s COVID-19 Prevention and Control Office said the omicron variant was found in all those who tested positive in the initial testing phase, of which China has reported only a few cases so far. The source of the outbreak is still unknown and many who are spreading the strain may be doing so unknowingly as they do not show any symptoms.
Millions more are under lockdown in other Chinese cities under a strict “dynamic zero-case policy” that has allowed China to contain large outbreaks on a large scale, albeit at a considerable cost to the local economy.
Hong Kong has closed kindergartens and primary schools, banned flights from the United States and seven other countries after infections were discovered among students and placed 2,500 passengers on a cruise ship for coronavirus tests on Wednesday as the city attempted to contain an emerging Omicron outbreak.
Semi-autonomous Chinese city tightens pandemic restrictions After the discovery of the Omicron variant in recent times, it had spread beyond people arriving from abroad.
In all, China announced 166 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours before Wednesday, including 33 in Tianjin and 118 in Henan province, but just eight in Xi’an city, home to the famous terracotta warrior statues and key industries. is home. Where the lockdown was imposed on 23 December.
Officials also released news of an inspection last week by Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who called for measures to be taken to prevent the spread of both the Delta and Omicron forms. COVID-19 has spread to three cities in the province, including Yuzhou, Anyang and the provincial capital Zhengzhou, leading to travel restrictions and varying levels of lockdown.
“It is necessary to do a good job of ensuring the living needs of the people in closed and controlled communities, ensuring the basic medical needs of the people during the pandemic period and ensuring that the demands of the people are answered and that they can be resolved. In a timely manner,” Surya was quoted as saying.
Some Xi’an residents have complained of an inability to source food and other daily necessities.