Health authorities in Tianjin, China’s fourth-largest city, said late on Monday that they had detected the country’s first known case of the Omicron coronavirus variant, as new outbreaks spread across industrial heartlands.
The discovery came as tens of thousands of people in China have remained in lockdown due to Covid-19 outbreaks despite severe restrictions on international travel.
The cities of Hangzhou, Shaoxing, and Ningbo — all in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai — have this week reported almost 200 new cases combined, prompting authorities to impose restrictions on movement until March 2022.
There were more than 100 infected people in one district alone — Shangyu in Shaoxing — all of whom were traced to a funeral, the state-run Tianjin Daily reported.
Many Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed listed manufacturers have suspended production since the outbreaks, while Ningbo is a big container port, raising the spectre of further global supply chain bottlenecks.