Tianjin outbreak grows as Omicron spreads to Dalian, Volkswagen China shuts factories

BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Reuters) – The Chinese port city of Tianjin on Thursday reported an increase in COVID-19 infections as it ramps up efforts to curb an outbreak that has spread the highly transmissible variant of Omicron to another city .

Omicron has posed new challenges to China’s strategy to quickly quell local epidemics, which have become more urgent as the Winter Olympics approach from February 4 and with the busy New Years holiday season. lunar starting later this month.

The Chinese unit of the Volkswagen group (VOWG_p.DE) said on Thursday it had closed a vehicle factory it jointly manages with the FAW group in Tianjin, as well as a components factory since Monday due to the outbreak. Read more

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Tianjin, in northeastern China, about 100 km (62 miles) from the capital Beijing, reported 41 locally transmitted infections with confirmed symptoms on Wednesday, up from 33 a day earlier, according to data from the National Commission on Health. health.

Dalian in the northeast also reported that an individual arriving from Tianjin tested positive for the Omicron variant, the city government said. Dalian said the virus situation was “largely controllable.”

Anyang in central Henan Province reported 43 local symptomatic cases on Wednesday. The city detected two Omicron infections on Monday and said the outbreak could be attributed to a student arriving from Tianjin. Read more

The number of cases in Tianjin and Anyang is minimal compared to outbreaks in many other countries, although the number of local infections in Omicron is unclear. Yet authorities have imposed various restrictions on movement within and outside the city.

Across China, several cities have ordered the quarantine of people who have recently visited Tianjin or Anyang. Many cities, including Beijing, are also encouraging people to stay put during the Lunar New Year holidays.

Citing the risk posed by Omicron and the need to ensure the safety of the Olympics, the Beijing city government has encouraged commuters in satellite cities to work from home.

There were no new deaths for Wednesday, leaving the death toll since the virus was discovered two years ago in China unchanged at 4,636.

IMPORTED INFECTIONS

Zhang Wenhong, director of a COVID-19 treatment team in Shanghai, said Thursday that the public health clinic is now facing a record number of infections from overseas.

Cases imported to Shanghai in the first 10 days of this month have already exceeded the total for the entire month of December, according to Reuters calculations. It is not known how many of them were Omicron.

China has suspended more US flights after an increase in the number of infected passengers.

Severe measures against local epidemics included punishing officials. In Anyang on Wednesday, 11 people were held responsible for failing to properly control the virus.

The city government on Thursday ordered two hospitals in Xian to suspend operations for three months after failing to provide medical care during the outbreak.

The move caused the shares of their owner, XiAn International Medical Investment Co (000516.SZ), to fall by 10% on Thursday – the maximum allowed daily change percentage.

The story of a pregnant woman who lost her unborn baby after waiting outside the other hospital in Xian for two hours had caused anger on Chinese social media and led to the punishment of those responsible for the city. Read more

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Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Ella Cao and David Stanway; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Simon Cameron-Moore and Tom Hogue

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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