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Chinese cities on alert for Covid-19 and Omicron at the start of the Lunar New Year season

Guards wearing protective masks amid the Covid-19 pandemic in Shanghai

By Roxanne Liu, Stella Keough, Alby Zhang and Ryan Wu

BEIJING (Reuters) – Several cities in China are on high alert for COVID-19 as the busy Lunar New Year travel season begins on Monday, requiring travelers to report their flights days in advance, while the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus arrives. Including the capital, Beijing.

Officials warn that highly contagious Omicron increases the risk of transmission of Covid-19 as hundreds of millions of people travel through China for the Lunar New Year holiday on February 1.

Cities such as Luoyang in central China and Jiangxi in the south announced on Sunday that travelers must report their flights to their communities, employers or hotels three days before arrival.

Yulin, in the southwest of the country, said Saturday that those who want to enter the city will need to fill out an online form, including health credentials and travel details, a day in advance.

Over the weekend, the capital, Beijing, and the technology hub of Shenzhen in the south, detected one case of locally transmitted omicron.

Li Ang, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, said a local hospital had received nine Omicron patients, and six were still receiving treatment. He did not say when the infection arrived or why it was not detected sooner.

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