Jan 9, 2022 - World

City near Beijing COVID testing all 14M residents ahead of Olympics

Residents queue to get a swab sample for Covid-19 coronavirus in Tianjin, in northern China on January 9, 2022.

Residents queue for a swab sample to test for COVID-19 in Tianjin, China, on Jan. 9. Photo: Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

Officials in the city of Tianjin began mass testing the entire 14 million population for COVID-19 on Sunday after discovering a cluster of cases, AP reported.

Why it matters: Beijing, roughly 70 miles from Tianjin, will host the Olympics in less than a month.

The big picture: Twenty of Tianjin's residents have tested positive for the virus, with at least two people — a 10-year-old girl and a 29-year-old woman — infected with the highly contagious Omicron variant, the New York Times reported.

  • The mass testing is expected to take place over 2 days, per AP.
  • City officials have ordered residents to stay within the city and limit their travel, closed several subway stations, and placed several residential areas under comprehensive lockdowns, the Times reported.

But, but, but: Tamping down the spread of the virus could prove difficult. Speaking at a press conference, Zhang Ying, deputy director of the Tianjin Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that COVID may have “been already spreading in the community for some time” before detection, per the Times.

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