Elsewhere, millions of people are being locked in their homes in Xi’an and Yuzhou, two more distant cities where major outbreaks occur. Both were traced back to the delta variant. The outbreak in Yuzhou also affects Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of Henan 65 kilometers north. Zhengzhou has conducted mass tests and is closing schools from Monday.
The first two confirmed cases in Tianjin were a 10-year-old girl and a 29-year-old woman who worked in the after-school care center. Both were infected with the Omicron variant. In subsequent tests of close contacts, 18 more tested positive and 767 negative by Saturday evening.
The infected include 15 schoolchildren aged 8 to 13, the daycare worker and four parents. The city-wide test is to be carried out over two days. Tianjin has also closed some subway stations on two lines to prevent further spread.
China had previously reported about a dozen Omicron cases, most of them from people who had entered from abroad and been isolated. In one case, the infection was only discovered in mid-December after a two-week quarantine and spread to a few close contacts in the southern city of Guangzhou.