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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Covid pandemic: Chinese city tests 14m people after cluster


The Chinese port city of Tianjin is aiming to test its 14 million residents within the next 48 hours after the discovery of a cluster of Covid cases.

Residents have been advised to stay at home until tested, and a negative result is required to obtain the health pass required to use public transportation.

Two of the 20 cases found are the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

China is pursuing a zero-Covid policy, with the goal of eliminating the disease from the community.

Unlike other parts of the world that have opened up following vaccination campaigns, China has responded to a small number of local cases with mass testing and tight lockdowns.

With the Lunar New Year on 1 February, when millions of people normally travel, and the Winter Olympics starting a few days later, the policy is likely to come under scrutiny. Beijing, the host city, is only 115 kilometres (70 miles) away from Tianjin.

The Olympics are being held in a “closed loop,” which means that participants can only leave if they enter quarantine or leave the country. According to Reuters, Beijing residents have been advised to avoid approaching vehicles used to transport people to and from the games.

In Tianjin, there are large queues of people waiting to get tested.

The response stops short of the stricter measures seen in the cities of Xi’an and Yuzhou, which are both under lockdown.

Xi’an has been locked down since late last month and its resident ordered to stay indoors, with shopping for essentials also banned.

Locals have complained that food supplies have run low, with some resorting to bartering.


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