China locks down port city of Tianjin after Omicron found

10 January 2022, 08:04

Virus outbreak China
Virus Outbreak China. Picture: PA

People have been told not to leave the city unless they have urgent business.

The major port of Tianjin may be facing China’s first local outbreak of the Omicron variant of coronavirus of any size, less than a month before the winter Olympics open in nearby Beijing.

State broadcaster CCTV said the government has divided Tianjin and its 14 million residents into three levels of restrictions, starting with lockdown areas where people are not allowed to leave their homes at all.

In control areas, each household is allowed to have one family member leave to buy groceries every other day, while in prevention areas, people must remain inside their immediate neighbourhoods.

Buses and trains from Tianjin to Beijing have been suspended and people are being told not to leave the city unless they have urgent business.

Virus outbreak China
Residents in Tianjin are tested (Chinatopix/AP)

The city began mass testing of all its residents on Sunday after a cluster of 20 children and adults tested positive for Covid-19, including at least two with the Omicron variant.

Another 20 people tested positive on Sunday, bringing the total to 40. Officials said earlier that the virus has been circulating so the number of cases could rise.

China has stepped up its strict zero tolerance strategy in the run-up to the Olympics, which open on February 4.

The Chinese capital is 70 miles northwest of Tianjin and many people regularly travel back and forth by car or on a high-speed rail link that takes less than one hour.

Virus outbreak China
Disinfectant is sprayed as residents line up for testing (Chinatopix/AP)

Elsewhere, millions of people are being confined to their homes in Xi’an and Yuzhou, two cities that are further away but have larger outbreaks traced to the Delta variant.

Residents of Xi’an have been under lockdown for more than two weeks, but the number of new cases in the city of 13 million fell to just 15 on Monday in a sign that restrictions could soon be lifted.

Yuzhou is a city of about 1.1 million people in neighbouring Henan province.

Another 60 cases were reported on Monday in Henan, two of them of the Omicron variant, state media outlet The Paper reported.

The provincial capital of Zhengzhou has been conducting mass testing and closed its schools. Another 24 cases were reported in the city on Monday.

China had reported about a dozen Omicron cases previously, most among people who had arrived from abroad and were isolated.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

George Floyd case

Jury selected in US federal trial over killing of George Floyd

Joe Biden

Biden issues new warning to Russia over invading Ukraine

Covid Austria

Austrian parliament approves universal vaccine mandate

Capitol riot investigation

Capitol investigation committee requests interview with Ivanka Trump

Entrance to Auschwitz

UN approves resolution to condemn denial of the Holocaust

Afghanistan women's protest

Woman activist arrested by Taliban in raid on her home in Kabul

Antony Blinken

US warns of ‘swift, severe’ response if Russia invades Ukraine

Scene of Liberia stampede

At least 29 people die in stampede at religious festival in Liberia

Novak Djokovic is reportedly preparing to sue the Australian government.

Novak Djokovic 'to sue Australian government for £3m' over deportation

Liz Truss will urge Mr Putin to engage in "meaningful discussions" about the situation in Ukraine

Putin must 'step back' from war and free world will 'stand its ground', says Foreign Sec

Antony Blinken and Annalena Baerbock

US and European diplomats meet in Berlin to discuss Ukraine situation

Former Pope Benedict failed to act on child sexual abuse

Pope Benedict 'failed to act' in four child sexual abuse cases, report finds

Audio footage has been obtained from the final conversation between the Texas synagogue attacker Malik Akram and his younger brother Gulbar, who urged his sibling to surrender.

'Think about your kids': Brother's desperate phone call with Texas synagogue attacker

Russian Sukhoi 30 jet

Russia accuses the West of ‘plotting provocations’ over Ukraine

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Former Pope Benedict criticised over handling of sexual abuse claims

Tina Turner at Wembley

Tina Turner and husband buy £56m estate on shore of Lake Zurich