Tianjin postpones two sessions amid Omicron surge
Published: Jan 12, 2022 11:18 PM
Residents take nucleic acid tests in Tianjin on January 9, 2022. Photo: VCG

Residents take nucleic acid tests in Tianjin on January 9, 2022. Photo: VCG

North China's Tianjin Municipality has announced it will postpone its two sessions due to the latest wave of the epidemic involving the Omicron variant.

As of 2pm on Wednesday, 137 residents in Tianjin had tested positive for COVID-19, including 76 local confirmed cases and 17 asymptomatic cases, while another 44 positive cases required further verification, the authorities said at Wednesday's press briefing. 

Both the sixth session of the 17th Tianjin Municipal People's Congress and the fifth session of the 14th Tianjin Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference will be posted, the city's authority announced on Wednesday.  

The new outbreak has entered its fifth day, and the overall incidence curve of the epidemic mainly focused on January 8-10, which has the highest incidence, Zhang Ying, deputy director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Tianjin, said during Wednesday's press briefing.

It's not common that the epidemic has entered into a peak phase during the early stage, said Zhang, noting this showed that Tianjin's screening and control measures were conducted very quickly and early. 

"As long as all prevention and control measures are in place, the later development of the epidemic is controllable," Zhang said.  

The epidemic spread during the New Year holiday among communities, according to the press conference. The outbreak involved several daycare classes that were open during the holiday, where the children were exposed to the virus, and then they passed it to other students and family members when the school started on January 4. 

It's important to screen out residents who have been infected by the virus but haven't transmitted it to others, which is also the reason why the city needs to conduct a second round city-wide nucleic acid tests, Zhang explained. Zhang urged residents to take the tests and avoid large-scale gatherings.

The city has tightened restrictions by such means as suspending all inter-provincial highway passenger bus services and charter services to Beijing, and closed-loop management will be conducted in all schools to contain the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. 

The city on Wednesday took stricter measures in three regions -- the Jinnan, Hexi and Xiqing districts. All entertainment venues including theaters, chess and card rooms and fitness rooms as well as on-site educational training organizations were suspended. 

Welfare, old-age services and mental health institutions are under closed-loop management.

The relevant regulations on epidemic prevention and control will be strictly implemented in agricultural trade markets, supermarkets, medicine stores and other venues, and flow restrictions with the maximum reception capacity of 50 percent will be strictly implemented. A hotline will be open to the public to ensure people can travel in a safe manner.

The first round of city-wide nucleic acid tests in North China's Tianjin Municipality tested 12.52 million samples taken from residents, with 77 returning positive for COVID-19, the local authorities said on Wednesday. The second round of city-wide screening started on Wednesday. 

Some cases in other regions have been found related to Tianjin. Dalian, a port city in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, said two college students tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. The two returned from Tianjin and tested negative for the virus when they left Tianjin on January 8.

Global Times