The Chinese government on Monday put Tianjin on partial lockdown following discovery of Covid-19 cases caused due to the Omicron variant. The authorities in Tianjin imposed three levels of restrictions as they found 20 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday. Authorities told news agencies that out of those 20 cases, 2 were infected with the Omicron variant of Covid-19. The new cluster has increased the port city’s tally of cases to above 40 after it detected 21 more cases on Monday.
The new cases were a 10-year-old girl and a 29-year-old woman working at an after-school center, according to a report by the Associated Press. “The new cases are mainly students and their parents who go to the same nursery and school,” Tianjin Municipal Health Commission director Gu Qing was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
Tianjin authorities divided the city into three levels of restrictions. There are lockdown areas where people are barred from leaving their homes, control areas where only one member of the household is allowed to shop for essential items and prevention areas where people are asked to remain within their immediate neighbourhoods, according to a report by news agencies. The authorities have also cancelled buses and trains to and from Beijing to Tianjin in a bid to break the chain of transmission.
Officials said people who have to leave Tianjin will need to obtain official permission and test negative for the virus within 48 hours of their departure, according to a statement released by Tianjin authorities. Tianjin is 115 miles from the capital Beijing and people travel frequently between both cities.
The city of 14 million residents are now undergoing testing for Covid-19 which is part of China’s zero-Covid policy which aims to eliminate the virus rather than live with it.
Authorities conduct nationwide monitoring of its citizens, using phone apps coupled with a strict testing regime and mass vaccination in a bid to stamp out Covid. The government is also increasingly concerned due to the Omicron outbreak as Beijing prepares to host the Winter Olympics on February 4.
Tianjin will join Xi’an and Yuzhou which have been under strict lockdown following the discovery of new clusters. Xi’an will enter its third week of lockdown while Yuzhou completes first week under lockdown.