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Omicron outbreak sees Tianjin enter partial lockdown

A breakout of the omicron strain of Covid-19 over the weekend has seen the port city of Tianjin near Beijing enter partial lockdown. Exit controls have been put in place and mass testing is underway in the city, whose population today stands at 14m people. Another 21 cases were reported in the northeastern city on Monday with citizens placed into three tiers of lockdown.

The outbreak comes just weeks ahead of Beijing hosting the Winter Olympics. The Chinese capital is situated just 130 km northwest of Tianjin.

Beijing’s strict zero-Covid policy has curbed local outbreaks with mass testing, snap lockdowns, vigilant surveillance and extensive quarantines. However, new variants such as omicron have seen outbreaks intensify since the autumn.

Ningbo, home to the world’s largest port, has had three partial lockdowns in the space of six months.

The risk of further shut-downs in China is significant due to the combination of a zero-tolerance policy towards Covid and an omicron variant which is much more contagious than previous variants, analysts at liner consultancy Sea-Intelligence warned in their latest weekly report.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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