The northern Chinese city of Tianjin tightened exit controls and is requiring residents to obtain approval from employers or community authorities before leaving town in an effort to block the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The port city to the southeast of Beijing reported 21 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms on Sunday, the National Health Commission said on Monday, up from three a day earlier.
Tianjin, with around 14 million residents, said over the weekend it detected two local cases of infection with the Omicron. The source of the infections and route to the community remained unclear, and officials had yet to announce how many other local cases were caused by Omicron.
China's quick containment strategy has taken on extra urgency in the run-up to the Winter Olympics, to be staged in Beijing and neighbouring Hebei province starting Feb. 4, and with the Lunar New Year holiday travel season beginning later this month.
Tianjin's mass testing scheme, which it aims to complete in two days, is part of its effort to "resolutely prevent the virus spreading to other provinces, regions and cities, especially Beijing", the city government said in a letter to residents on Monday.
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