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A volunteer receives daily necessities on behalf of residents under home quarantine in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Jan. 12, 2022. Tao Ming/Xinhua via AP File Photo hide caption
A volunteer receives daily necessities on behalf of residents under home quarantine in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Jan. 12, 2022.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Just weeks before hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics, China is battling multiple coronavirus outbreaks in half a dozen cities, with the one closest to the capital driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant.With the success of the Games and China's national dignity at stake, Beijing is doubling down on its "zero-tolerance" COVID-19 policy. Across China, more than 20 million people are in some form of lockdown, with many prevented from leaving their homes.
Tianjin, only about an hour from Beijing, is on high alert, although it has refrained from imposing a complete lockdown such as that in Xi'an, a city of 14 million. Instead, it has sealed off several residential communities and universities, canceled almost all flights, suspended high speed train service and closed highways. People leaving the city are required to present negative COVID-19 tests and receive special permission. The city conducted mass testing for a second time for its 14 million residents on Wednesday, and asked them to stay put in their homes until they receive a negative result.Tianjin's proximity to Beijing makes the timing particularly fraught. During the Tokyo Olympics in July, Japan saw a widespread outbreak driven by the delta variant. Despite that, the disruptions for people in Tianjin remain relatively light.
"Everything is fine, the supermarkets and restaurants, you can go to all normally," said Yu Xuan, who works at a university in Tianjin. Wang Dacheng, another resident, said his father who has trouble walking was able to get tested in their apartment. "Tianjin people are pretty optimistic, everyone's been very calm and collected," Wang said.Elsewhere, in Xi'an to the west and several cities in Henan province, the measures are far more onerous, leading to complaints that people sequestered in their apartments were running out of food.
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