Beijing and Tianjin working on virus-free games

Residents line up for nucleic acid tests in Tianjin on January 9. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Tianjin Center for Disease Control and Prevention has established a mature communication mechanism with its counterpart in Beijing to exchange information in time to ensure the smooth running and success of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in the month next, said a senior official.

To contain the spread, especially to the Chinese capital, which is 130 kilometers away, various departments have implemented prevention measures, said Zhang Ying, deputy director of the Tianjin Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The departments introduced strict control and management measures in Xinzhuang and Xianshuigu townships in Jinnan District after outbreaks were reported,” she told media on Monday.

“Now the measures have been further strengthened to prevent and control the spread of the coronavirus there.”

Meanwhile, rail services are allowing all passengers who have purchased train tickets to leave Tianjin for other mainland cities for a refund starting Tuesday. People are encouraged to stay in Tianjin temporarily.

Zhang said Tianjin launched a city-wide testing campaign on Sunday to identify potential patients and asymptomatic carriers.

Tianjin had reported 31 confirmed cases and 10 asymptomatic carriers as of 6 p.m. Monday, some of which were confirmed to be the Omicron strain, Zhang said.

She said children don’t seem to be more easily infected with Omicron than other strains, despite many cases being local students.

“Tests show that the proportion of children among those infected is decreasing and the proportion of young adults, middle-aged and elderly people in the community is gradually increasing,” she said. “Therefore, it does not appear that children are more susceptible to the Omicron variant. It must be said that the general population is susceptible to the Omicron variant.”

The Omicron strain is not only stealthy but also spreads very quickly, with some foreign data showing that the days of intergenerational transmission can be as short as 2 to 3 days, Zhang said. The Omicron strain could have existed and spread without being observed in Tianjin for some time, she added.

Government departments remain busy investigating the source of Omicron, whether it was imported directly to Tianjin from overseas, or whether the inbound virus first traveled elsewhere on the Chinese mainland before spreading to spread throughout the city, she said.

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