In Tianjin, Beijing's adjacent city, a coronavirus outbreak occurs barely four weeks before the Chinese capital's Winter Olympics.
This effectively prevents all 15 million citizens of Tianjin from entering Beijing, which is only 100 kilometers distant. Meanwhile, Beijing's Winter Olympics preparations, dubbed the "Closed Loop" or "Bubble," are well underway. The Olympics officially begin on February 4.
On January 9, the Jinnan District Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Tianjin revealed 20 additional individuals tested positive for COVID-19 PCR testing a day after another 20 individuals tested positive. Infected individuals are associated with educational institutions, and the pandemic has spread to at least three schools.
In two cases, the Tianjin Center for Disease Control and Prevention sequenced the virus genetically and identified it as the novel Omicron variety.
On January 9, the municipal government of Tianjin decided to conduct nucleic acid testing on all of its employees. Another public testing is also taking place.
"Today, residents of four districts — Jinan, Dongli, Xiqing, and Nankai — will undergo nucleic acid testing," Mr. Zhang of Tianjin's Nankai District told The Epoch Times on January 9.
"The remainder will pick them up tomorrow. Nankai District has warned residents of the district's closure. "Almost everyone in Jinan District did nucleic acid yesterday," he explained.
"At 3 a.m., people were still lined up. At 4:00 a.m., inspectors began going door to door to administer nucleic acid [testing] to older persons who had not done it previously."
Meanwhile, the Tianjin Municipal Examination Institute announced the cancellation of all interviews on January 9 for a teacher qualifying examination.
"These two days, there is a teacher qualification exam," Zhang explained. "I learned online that those who completed the exam on the 8th were required to quarantine, but the test scheduled for the 9th was canceled at 11.30 p.m. yesterday," he explained.
"A large number of individuals traveled to Tianjin [for the exam] and stayed in hotels. They are now unable to return. They may be required to quarantine on their own dime. I observed someone online stating that he was without money, food, and was unable to January 9."
On January 9, the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a notification encouraging "Beijing residents to avoid traveling to Tianjin unless absolutely necessary, and Tianjin residents to avoid traveling to Beijing."
According to the state-run Beijing News, officials at the Yingsi checkpoint on the Beijing-Shanghai Expressway have turned back many persons and vehicles entering Beijing during the last two days.
The official request is thought to be an executive order, not a "travel advisory."
Beijing issued an explicit order in October 2021 prohibiting the entry of so-called "four categories of people" into the city, including "people in the county with one or more local COVID infection(s) and those with a travel history in that county within 14 days." In other words, as long as a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 exists in a county, no one from that county, even Beijing residents who stayed there within the last 14 days, is permitted to enter Beijing.
Zhang stated that the authorities are unconcerned with the treatment of virus-infected individuals.
"The media and the government have always focused on the number of positive tests," he explained. "However, how many patients have been infected and isolated, and how are these patients faring?" How long does recovery take? What is the treatment's efficacy? There is almost nothing visible. Why is there no follow-up on concerns concerning vaccine-related long-term adverse effects?"
Apart from being concerned about the Tianjin epidemic, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities are also concerned about the virus spreading from Xi'an in Shaanxi Province, through similarly named Shanxi Province, plus Henan and Hebei provinces. Finally, to Beijing.
The virus has infected the cities of Zhengzhou and Xuchang in Henan Province, south of Beijing. Henan is a vital transportation hub for Beijing, and at the moment, any travelers traveling by train through the province will be denied entry to the capital.
Shanxi is another province that borders Hebei. On January 6, the Shanxi Provincial Epidemic Prevention and Control Office issued a notification advising residents to avoid leaving the province unless essential. Additionally, the notice compels those entering or returning to Shanxi to report immediately to their businesses, neighborhoods, or hotels and submit to nucleic testing.
On January 9, the Epidemic Prevention and Control Office in Jincheng City, Shanxi Province, said it will "strictly" tighten restrictions due to "the epidemic situation around our city becoming increasingly severe." Among these measures are the prohibition of access to county and village roads in Henan Province leading to Jincheng and the ban of the return of foreign vehicles and individuals who have traveled to Henan Province via high-speed, national, and provincial roads and high-speed trains in the past.
With the 2022 Winter Olympics slated in Beijing on February 4, the CCP expects its anti-epidemic measures to display its "institutional confidence" worldwide.
Beijing has also implemented "bubble management" in the run-up to the Games to ensure that those affiliated with the event, including members of foreign sports teams and Chinese athletes, avoid interaction with other "ordinary Chinese."
Given that the CCP's pandemic evidence is widely considered as irrational, it is frequently dismissed by the world community. The world community finds it unfathomable that the city of Xi'an, with a population of over 12 million people, has been walled off following the discovery of less than 100 officially positive illnesses.