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China’s Tianjin begins city-wide testing after at least two local Omicron cases detected

Randy Mancini 2 Jan 9
People wearing protective masks walk on a street, following new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective masks walk on a street, following new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shanghai, China January 4, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

January 9, 2022

SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) -The northern coastal city of Tianjin began testing its population of around 14 million on Sunday after at least two local cases of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant were detected, state media reported.

Residents in four districts would be tested over the next 24 hours while other districts would be tested the next day, the Tianjin government said.

Residents will only get the green health code necessary to travel once they receive a negative result, it said.

The city advised residents not to leave town for unnecessary reasons, the government said late on Saturday. So far no full lockdown order has been given.

The Tianjin outbreak poses risks to Beijing and the upcoming Winter Olympics, because of the large number of commuters working and living in the two cities, the state-owned Global Times said, citing an unnamed immunologist.

Commuters to Tianjin from Beijing have been asked to stay away, Xinhua reported.

It comes after local transmission of the imported Omicron variant was found in the southern city of Guangzhou, according to a national health official in December, though the number of cases was not disclosed.

China reported 165 confirmed coronavirus cases for Jan. 8, up from 159 a day earlier, its health authority said on Sunday.

Of the new infections, 92 were locally transmitted,according to a statement by the National Health Commission, from95 a day earlier.

Most of the new local cases were in Henan and Shaanxiprovinces.

China reported 46 new asymptomatic cases, which itclassifies separately from confirmed cases, compared with 52 aday earlier.

There were no new fatalities, leaving the death toll at 4,636. Mainland China had 103,619 confirmed casesas of Jan 8.

(Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Elaine Hardcastle)