COVID-19: China records new cases of the Omicron variant

Beijing | China on Monday reported new cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, as the country faces several outbreaks less than a month after the Beijing Olympics.

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Since the beginning of the epidemic, the authorities have implemented a “zero COVID” strategy, which consists in doing everything possible to limit the emergence of new cases as much as possible.

However, sporadic bounces have been occurring regularly in recent months, and the country is redoubling its vigilance as the Winter Olympics (February 4-20) approach.

In Xi’an (north), 13 million people entered their third week of confinement, a measure taken after dozens of cases emerged at the end of December.

And since this weekend, a new outbreak has alarmed authorities in Tianjin, a large port city about 100 kilometers southeast of Beijing.

Several cases this weekend are linked to the Omicron variant, which was first detected in China last month in the same city. And 21 new cases of COVID were announced on Monday in Tianjin, with the variable in question not known at the moment.

About 14 million people are being urged to stay at home, while a mass screening of residents is underway.

The city council said that since Sunday, residents can only leave the city with a special permit and a negative screening test for less than 48 hours. “Residents should not leave Tianjin unless there is a compelling reason,” she said in a statement on Sunday.

All schools were closed and railways with Beijing were suspended.

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About 400 kilometers to the southwest, the city of Anyang in central Henan Province reported two cases of omicron linked to the Tianjin outbreak on Monday. The district subsequently announced that it would screen its 5 million residents.

The sale of tickets for long-distance trains and buses from Anyang has been suspended and checkpoints have been set up on all highways outside the city to curb the spread of the virus in the country.

China, where the first cases of COVID were detected two years ago in Wuhan (center), nevertheless has largely controlled the epidemic on its territory.

Life has almost returned to normal since the spring of 2020, and the country has officially recorded only two deaths in more than a year.

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