A medical worker takes a swab sample on Jan. 10, 2022 as part of Tianjin, China’s mass Covid-19 testing program.
Geno Zhou | Future Publishing | Getty Images
China reported 192 new confirmed coronavirus cases for Jan. 10, up from 157 a day earlier, its health authority said on Tuesday, with the northern city of Tianjin still trying to contain an outbreak
of the highly infectious omicron variant.
The country’s omicron surge comes just weeks before the Lunar New Year, a peak travel period, and cities across China are already advising people to stay put, especially as Beijing prepares to host the Winter Olympics at the start of next month.
On Monday, there were 10 new local transmissions in Tianjin, a city of 14 million people around 100 km (62 miles) from Beijing, and health officials are now implementing tough new controls to stop coronavirus spreading.
“Facing omicron directly, we found the speed of transmission was really quite fast,” said Zhang Ying, an official with Tianjin’s disease control center, speaking in an interview aired on state television late on Monday.
“Whether it is in terms of virus origin tracing or epidemiological investigations, the omicron variant has brought along unprecedentedly massive challenges and difficulties,” he said.
Tianjin confirmed its first two cases of omicron at the weekend, and Zhang said 20 infected people were discovered in the first 24 hours.
The city has already imposed travel restrictions and launched a mass testing program to help prevent the variant from spreading.
Of the 192 total new infections reported nationwide on Monday, 110 were locally transmitted, up from 97 a day earlier. There were 87 in the highly populated central Chinese province of Henan, according to a statement by the National Health Commission.
Anyang, a city in Henan, has already confirmed that two of its new cases over the past few days were part of the same omicron transmission chain as Tianjin. It is unclear how many of the other cases in Henan province are omicron-related.
China also reported 50 new asymptomatic cases on Monday, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, up from 42.
There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll at 4,636. As of Jan. 10, mainland China had 103,968 confirmed cases.