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Chinese province of Tianjin launches emergency response to contain coronavirus

CHINA’S northern Tianjin province has launched a major emergency response to ensure residents have adequate daily supplies as it tackles a new wave of coronavirus.

Officials have mobilised all major wholesale suppliers, supermarkets and shops to ensure they meet the demand for meat, eggs and vegetables.

Stocks have increased as the municipality, which has a population of 13.8 million, launches measures to contain the spread of the omicron variant.

Tianjin — which lies 80 miles south-east of the capital Beijing — moved swiftly after 20 people tested positive for Covid-19 last Friday. On Tuesday this had increased to 33.

Authorities initiated a city-wide nucleic acid testing programme, which had proven effective in containing the spread of coronavirus in Xi’an in the central Shaanxi Province.

It enabled health officials there to identify the sources and implement lockdowns and centralised quarantines for those infected.

Companies and other institutions in Tianjin were ordered to give employees a half-day off yesterday, while keeping activities “relatively static” to comply with the second round of mass testing.

The port city’s Toyota factory said that operations had halted on Monday.

“We plan to resume operations as soon as the government’s instructions and the safety and security of the local community and suppliers are confirmed and assured,” a company statement said.

Western media has reported food shortages in Tianjin, but authorities said that there is adequate supply after stocks were briefly depleted following the panic buying of pork, eggs and other goods on Sunday.

The province is the latest to be hit by a Covid-19 outbreak, the north-eastern Shaanxi Province reporting nearly 2,000 cases since December and with other smaller outbreaks in Guangdong, Zhejiang and Henan.

China’s zero-Covid policy — under fire from a number of Western countries — has seen it record just 67 deaths since January 2021, and fewer than 5,000 since the outbreak began.

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