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Chinese cities under lockdown amid Omicron scare

Amid concern over the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid -19 may threaten the country’s “zero COVID” strategy, several cities in China have been put under strict lockdown with

Amid concern over the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid -19 may threaten the country’s “zero COVID” strategy, several cities in China have been put under strict lockdown with hundreds of thousands of its residents undergoing mass testing.

Cities in central Henan province, and the northern municipality of Tianjin near Beijing, have reported local spread of Omicron cases, prompting the sweeping measures.

China’s authorities are particularly concerned about the timing, which coincides with both the Winter Olympics in Beijing and the annual Chinese New Year holiday in the first week of February.

Also Read: ‘Deltacron’ a new variant of Covid emerges in Cyprus

The majority of the 110 new local cases reported in China on Monday were in Henan, a number high for a country that has been following a “zero COVID” approach, including continued restrictions on international travel for nearly two years.

Meanwhile, the situation in Xi’an has improved, and after weeks of lockdown, the city reported 13 cases on Monday, with the focus now shifting to Henan province in central China.

On Monday, Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan, closed schools and conducted mass testing.

At least two Omicron cases have been reported in Henan, with more expected, as per reports.

Hong Kong, which imposed a 6 p.m. curfew for dining places last week, announced new restrictions on Tuesday, citing community transmission.

However, as part of Hong Kong‘s ongoing “zero COVID” policy, the city closed kindergartens and primary schools after three children tested positive, having been infected by their parents.

Hong Kong has also announced a two-week suspension of flights from eight countries which includes– Australia, the United States, India, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

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First Published: 12th January, 2022 16:38 IST

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