Covid-19: China Shuts Down Second City Amid Omicron Threat

BEIJING: China locked down a city with five million people a day after detection Omicron in central Henan province, the second shutdown in as many months, underlining the country’s commitment to eradicating Covid as two highly transmissible variants circulate.
Authorities in Anyang city told residents not to leave their homes and banned the use of all vehicles after two people were reported on Monday with the more contagious omicron variant. A further 58 cases were announced Tuesday morning, local health authorities said, although they did not say whether the infections were caused by Omicron.
Omicron flare-ups in Henan and the northern port city of Tianjin pose major challenges for officials already struggling with a Delta outbreak, one of the most prolonged in China since the virus emerged more than two years ago. Both border Hebei Province, which will host snowsports competitions during the Beijing Winter Olympics, which start in less than a month.
China reported 110 locally transmitted Covid infections on Tuesday. Henan Province is the newest epicenter, accounting for 87 of the new cases.
All businesses in Anyang had to suspend operations, except for essential activities, until the virus risk in the city has been completely eliminated, officials said. Ticket sales for travel to Beijing were also stopped.
Second city closed
It is the second complete lockdown of a Chinese city in 20 days after authorities told residents of Xi’an — about 650 kilometers to the west — to stay indoors from late December as a Delta outbreak spread. Two other cities in Henan province have also seen restrictions as authorities restricted public transportation and dining options.
Tianjin, a port city bordering Beijing, imposed partial lockdowns in two cities in Xiqing district, according to the municipal government as an outbreak continued to grow. Ten locally transmitted cases were reported Tuesday, along with an additional 11 asymptomatic infections, according to a statement from the National Health Commission.

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