China locked down a city of five million people a day after detecting Omicron in the central Henan province, its second shut down in as many months, underscoring the nation’s commitment to eliminating Covid as two highly transmissible variants circulate.
Authorities in the city of Anyang told residents not to leave their homes and banned use of all vehicles after two people were reported with the more contagious omicron variant on Monday. Another 58 cases were disclosed Tuesday morning, according to the local health authorities, though they didn’t say whether the infections were caused by Omicron.
The Omicron flareups in Henan and the northern port city of Tianjin pose major challenges for officials already grappling with a Delta outbreak, one of China’s most protracted since the virus emerged more than two years ago. Both are adjacent to Hebei province, which is hosting snow sport competitions during the Winter Olympics in Beijing that start in less than a month.
China reported 110 locally transmitted Covid infections on Tuesday. Henan province is the latest epicenter, accounting for 87 of the new cases.
All companies in Anyang were required to suspend operations, other than for essential activities, until the virus risk in the city is completely eliminated, officials said. Tickets sales for travel to Beijing were also halted.
Second city shut
It’s the second full lockdown of a Chinese city in 20 days, after authorities told residents of Xi’an – about 650 kilometers to the west – to remain inside starting in late December as a Delta outbreak spread. Two other cities in Henan province have also seen some restrictions, as authorities limited public transportation and dining options.
Tianjin, a port city that borders Beijing, imposed partial lockdowns in two towns in the Xiqing district, according to the municipal government, as an outbreak continued to grow. Ten locally transmitted cases were reported on Tuesday, in addition to another 11 asymptomatic infections, according to a statement from the National Health Commission.