China has detected the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in a second major port city, deepening concern that the vastly more infectious variant could spread quickly across the world’s largest trading nation, upending global supply chains.
Chinese officials said yesterday that at least one person has Omicron in Dalian, a city of 7 million. A second person also tested positive for the virus, but the variant is unknown. Both are college students who returned home for the Lunar New Year holiday from Tianjin, where at least 137 other cases were traced as of Wednesday.
Dalian joins Tianjin as the second crucial port city with confirmed Omicron cases. Their ports are among the 20 largest in the world, serving as major production hubs for foreign companies such as Airbus and Volkswagen.
Amid COVID-19-induced delays, ships are heading for Shanghai, causing growing congestion at its port and delaying container ship schedules by about a week, freight forwarders have said. The delays could ripple to the US and Europe.
With only three weeks before the Winter Olympics are set to begin in Beijing, China has put in place some of the world’s toughest measures to stamp out the virus. Officials in Tianjin have closed schools, restaurants and entertainment facilities after dozens of people tested positive. Travel has mostly halted.
As Tianjin ramped up mass testing, Toyota Motor Corp suspended operations this week at its joint-venture plant in the city of about 13 million. Others could follow suit. Japanese companies including Sony and Panasonic have operations in Dalian.
China’s National Health Commission said that 124 locally transmitted cases were found yesterday, including 41 in Tianjin, where the Omicron variant was first identified, and 76 in nearby Henan Province. Another nine domestic cases, including the two in Dalian, are asymptomatic infections, health authorities said.
Located 30 minutes by train from Tianjin and a few hours from Dalian, Beijing has ordered residents to stay put. With the Olympics and the Lunar New Year drawing closer, people have been encouraged to spend the holidays at home, the city said late last month, although it is unclear if developments in Dalian could change the calculus.
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PORT CONGESTION: Ships heading for Omicron-affected Dalian and Tianjin are being redirected to Shanghai, which does not have the capacity for the sudden cargo influx China has detected the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in a second major port city, deepening concern that the vastly more infectious variant could spread quickly across the world’s largest trading nation, upending global supply chains. Chinese officials said yesterday that at least one person has Omicron in Dalian, a city of 7 million. A second person also tested positive for the virus, but the variant is unknown. Both are college students who returned home for the Lunar New Year holiday from Tianjin, where at least 137 other cases were traced as of Wednesday. Dalian joins Tianjin as the second crucial port city
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