Omicron scare in Tianjin close to Beijing ahead of Winter Olympics

Beijing: China on Sunday scampered to test 14 million residents of Tianjin as the port city near the capital has set off alarm bells ahead of the next month's Beijing Winter Olympics by reporting a cluster of COVID-19 cases, including two with the dreaded Omicron variant.

Thousands of people commute between Tianjin and Beijing as it takes hardly 30 minutes by the high-speed train.

Officials said that Tianjin, a municipality that neighbours Beijing, has decided to start a citywide nucleic acid testing after 20 people tested positive for COVID-19.

The infections were reported on Friday and Saturday in Jinnan district and the gene sequencing found the first two locally-transmitted confirmed cases were infected with the Omicron variant, the municipal headquarters for COVID-19 prevention and control said on Sunday.

Tianjin was the first Chinese city to report a few cases of Omicron in mid-December but not much was heard of its spread since then while major spike in cases was reported from the tourist city of Xian and a few other cities, prompting officials to resort to

mass testing.

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