Chinese cities lock down ahead of Olympics to stop COVID, 20 million people confined to homes

Chinese cities are on lockdown in response to positive coronavirus tests, with a city aiming to test 14 million people over a 48-hour period.

Residents of the port city of Tianjin, where 14 million people live, are urged to stay in their homes until tested, the BBC reported on Monday. People will only be allowed to use public transport after receiving a negative test.

The city aims to test its residents for 48 hours after a group of 20 people have tested positive, including two with the omicron variant of the virus.

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As of Tuesday, three other cities, Anyang, Xi’an and Yuzhou have been closed, leaving around 20 million people confined to their homes.

In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, a worker wearing protective gear gives a woman a COVID-19 test at a testing site in Xi’an, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. ) on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. China reports a significant drop in local COVID-19 infections in the northern city of Xi’an, which has been under strict lockdown for the past two weeks. (Tao Ming / Xinhua via AP)
(Tao Ming / Xinhua via AP)

The lockdown of Anyang, which is home to 5.5 million people, was announced on Monday evening after two cases of the omicron variant were reported. Residents are not allowed to go out and shops have been closed except for those selling basic necessities.

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An additional 13 million people were locked in Xi’an for nearly three weeks, and 1.1 million more in Yuzhou for over a week. It was not known how long the Anyang lockdown would last, as it was heralded as a measure to facilitate mass testing of residents, which is a standard procedure in China’s strategy for identifying and isolating residents. infected people.

Protesters wave Tibetan flags during a protest against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics by activists from the Association of Tibetan Youth in Europe, in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, IOC, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday, February 3, 2021. A coalition of 180 human rights groups is calling for a boycott of next year's Beijing Winter Olympics due to reported human rights abuses in China.  The games are scheduled to open on February 4, 2022. The coalition is made up of groups representing Tibetans, Uyghurs, Inner Mongols and others.  The group issued an open letter to governments calling for a boycott of the Olympics "to ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government's appalling human rights violations and crackdown on dissent."  (Jean-Christophe Bott / Keystone via AP)

Protesters wave Tibetan flags during a protest against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics by activists from the Association of Tibetan Youth in Europe, in front of the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, IOC, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Wednesday, February 3, 2021. A coalition of 180 human rights groups is calling for a boycott of next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics due to reported human rights abuses in China. The games are scheduled to open on February 4, 2022. The coalition is made up of groups representing Tibetans, Uyghurs, Inner Mongols and others. The group issued an open letter to governments calling for a boycott of the Olympics “to ensure they are not used to embolden the Chinese government’s appalling rights violations and crackdown on dissent.” (Jean-Christophe Bott / Keystone via AP)

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China aims to achieve a zero COVID policy, which comes as the nation’s capital prepares to host the Olympics next month. Organizers have launched a “closed loop” operation in Beijing, where participants can only leave the bubble to self-quarantine or if they also leave the country.

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The country is also preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year on February 1, when people typically travel.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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