Caixin
Jan 12, 2022 04:54 AM
CHINA

Tianjin Cancels Planes, Trains and Buses After Omicron Cases

What new: The northern Chinese city of Tianjin tightened exit controls by canceling 97% of flights and requiring residents to have negative Covid-19 test results and obtain approval from employers or community authorities before leaving town.

Tianjin detected China’s first pair of local Covid-19 cases of the highly transmissible omicron variant over the weekend. The city of 14 million is carrying out mandatory nucleic acid testing on all residents starting Sunday. As of Tuesday, the port city completed tests of nearly 7.9 million people and reported 97 cases, local health authorities said at a press conference.

Tianjin Binhai International Airport canceled 437 flights in and out of the airport Tuesday, and only five flights are allowed to leave the city, according to flight checking app VariFlight.

Some of the trains from Tianjin to Beijing were suspended. All interprovincial buses from Tianjin to Beijing and other provinces were shut down. Although the government has not imposed a lockdown on the city, residents were told not to leave town unless necessary.

The background: The latest outbreak happened as Beijing is preparing for the 2022 Winter Olympics, kicking off Feb. 4.

Throughout the pandemic, China has followed a strict zero tolerance strategy, under which authorities have imposed travel restrictions and lockdowns and at times have required mass testing whenever new cases emerged.

Health authorities have been scrambling to control Covid outbreaks in multiple regions as the number of infections of the omicron variant continues to grow. The northwestern city of Xi’an has been under lockdown since Dec. 23. Quarantined residents complained of food shortages. The city reported more than 2,000 cases within a month. Anyang, a city in central China’s Henan province, was the latest to report new local cases of the omicron variant and announced a lockdown Monday.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Denise Jia (huijuanjia@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (hello@caixin.com)

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