China locks down one other metropolis as Omicron spreads forward of Beijing Olympics

Beijing — 5 million residents of a central Chinese language metropolis have been confined to their houses Tuesday whereas one other megacity shuttered all non-essential companies, because the nation battles a spate of coronavirus outbreaks together with from the Omicron variant. Beijing is on excessive alert because it prepares to host the Winter Olympics subsequent month, sticking to a zero-COVID technique of focused lockdowns, border restrictions and prolonged quarantines to try to eradicate the illness.

Whereas these measures have stored the variety of new circumstances far decrease than virus hotspots in the USA and Europe, China is at the moment dealing with native flare-ups in a number of cities.

Flights cancelled, U.S. nationals warned

With extra Chinese language cities falling beneath harsh lockdown measures, and amid experiences from some shuttered communities of shortages of necessities like meals and medication, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing despatched an alert to Individuals within the nation warning that they may fall beneath restrictions with little warning.

The “measures could embody mass testing, closures, transportation disruptions, lockdowns, and potential household separation,” the embassy mentioned within the message, noting that it was “conscious of experiences of meals and medical shortages in some affected areas.”

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The embassy urged U.S. nationals in China to pay shut consideration to native media and authorities web sites about restrictions of their areas, and warned that any “failure to observe the directions of your native authorities could additional complicate issues U.S. Residents could encounter.”

A few of the coronavirus case in China have been in vacationers arriving from the USA, prompting the Chinese language aviation regulator to order greater than 60 scheduled flights from the U.S. to be canceled in current weeks, in keeping with the Reuters information company.

Omicron challenges zero-COVID plan

The fast-spreading Omicron variant has offered a contemporary problem for China, with two circumstances in Anyang — the newly locked-down metropolis in Henan province — linked to a rising an infection cluster within the northern metropolis of Tianjin, some 250 miles away. Authorities in Anyang introduced the lockdown late Monday, issuing a discover ordering residents to not depart their houses or drive their vehicles, state information company Xinhua reported.

Nucleic Acid Testing In Anyang City
Staff give residents a second spherical of nucleic acid testing on January 10, 2022, in Hua County, Anyang Metropolis, Henan Province, China.

Wang Zirui/Costfoto/Future Publishing/Getty

All non-essential companies have been closed and a mass-testing drive has been launched “to answer the extreme epidemic management state of affairs and strictly forestall the unfold of the Omicron virus outbreak,” Xinhua reported.

There have been 58 new native infections reported in Anyang, state broadcaster CCTV mentioned Tuesday, bringing town’s complete caseload to 84 since Saturday.

The town had already restricted outbound journey, which native officers mentioned was to “be sure that the outbreak doesn’t spill over into outdoors areas.”

At the very least three cities in Henan are battling rising outbreaks, with provincial capital Zhengzhou’s 13 million inhabitants inching nearer to a full lockdown. Below present guidelines, colleges and kindergartens have been closed together with all non-essential companies.

Final week, a million individuals within the metropolis of Yuzhou have been put beneath stay-at-home orders.

COVID hospitalizations rise as Omicron unfold…


Elsewhere, Tianjin — a serious port metropolis simply 93 miles from Beijing — has barred individuals from leaving with out official permission, ordered the testing of all 14 million residents, and cancelled trains into the capital.

Tianjin, which is adjoining to Winter Olympics venues in Beijing and Hebei province, confirmed one other 10 new domestically transmitted circumstances after citywide mass testing.

Zhang Boli, of the Chinese language Academy of Engineering, advised native tv that the Tianjin cluster is the primary time Omicron has been detected spreading inside China.

The northern metropolis of Xi’an is in its third week of lockdown because it makes an attempt to stamp out a 2,000-case outbreak.

Safety guards stroll in an space that’s beneath restrictions following a current coronavirus outbreak in Xi’an, in China’s northern Shaanxi province, December 22, 2021.


There are additionally flare-ups in southern China.

The Chinese language territory of Hong Kong is battling its personal Omicron outbreak that started with returning airline crew.

The outbreak has upended town’s zero-COVID success and seen a reintroduction of strict social-distancing measures together with the closure of bars and gymnasiums, and an finish to night restaurant eating.

On Tuesday, chief govt Carrie Lam introduced additional measures together with the closure of all kindergartens and first colleges till after the Lunar New Yr in early February.

Her administration has hewn to China’s closed-off blueprint however is dealing with rising anger from each residents and worldwide companies over the dearth of an exit technique.

Throughout the border from Hong Kong, the mainland tech hub of Shenzhen has additionally logged a handful of circumstances in current days, sparking lockdowns of some housing compounds, a mass-testing initiative and journey restrictions.

The town’s Yantian port is among the world’s busiest, and there are fears that additional lockdowns or restrictions there and in Hong Kong might compound already acute international provide issues.

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