City of Millions Next to Beijing Partly Locked in the Run-Up to Games

The authorities in the Chinese metropolis of Tianjin have tightened up travel rules in the run-up to the Olympic Games. For example, further spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus must be prevented.


Residents need permission from their employer or the government before they can leave the metropolis, which is located next to the capital Beijing.

Tianjin announced last weekend that it would test all approximately 15 million inhabitants because of two omicron infections. That happened less than a month before the start of the Games in nearby Beijing. Meanwhile, the number of infections is rising. The authorities in Tianjin reported another 21 corona cases on Monday, although it is not clear whether they are omicron.

People are asked only to leave the city if it is indispensable. In addition to official permission, they also need a negative corona test. This must be taken no more than 48 hours before departure. In addition, schools will be closed, and train traffic from the coastal city to Beijing has been halted.

The Chinese newspaper Global Times describes Tianjin as the place where China is seriously fighting omicron for the first time. Chinese television shows how people with face masks lined up for their corona tests on Sunday. These are administered by medical personnel in protective suits.

Spread of the highly contagious omicron variant could complicate China’s response to the corona pandemic. China is trying to reduce the spread of the virus to zero, something many other countries have already given up. Chinese authorities are responding to outbreaks by implementing strict lockdowns locally and testing residents on a large scale.

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