Coronavirus: Beijing Neighbor Tianjin Bans 15 Million People from Leaving

Coronavirus: Beijing Neighbor Tianjin Bans 15 Million People from Leaving

Chinese Communist Party authorities forbade all of Tianjin’s 15 million residents from leaving the city Sunday in an effort to contain the municipality’s recent Chinese coronavirus epidemic, which threatens to affect neighboring Beijing just 25 days before it is set to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Tianjin residents must present a negative Chinese coronavirus test result taken within 48 hours of their intended departure and receive special permission for travel from their employer or a local Communist Party authority before they will be allowed to leave Tianjin. The new rule went into effect on the evening of January 9 and will last indefinitely.

“Citizens with fever are not allowed to leave Tianjin or enter Beijing, the Chinese capital neighboring virus-hit Tianjin, until the risk of infection has been ruled out,” Xinhua, China’s official state-run press agency, revealed January 9.

“The city also strengthened checks on resident[s] traveling to Beijing by setting check points and special channels at highways and transportation stations,” the state-run Global Timesreported Sunday.

Tianjin government officials imposed the new travel restrictions on locals after China’s National Health Commission detected a surge in the city’s coronavirus caseload. Tianjin recorded 21 new coronavirus infections on January 9, up from just three cases 24 hours earlier on January 8.

North China's Tianjin Municipality reported 31 locally transmitted #COVID19 cases and 10 asymptomatic ones in the latest resurgence

— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) January 10, 2022

Tianjin serves as a major commuter city for Beijing. A high-speed train takes roughly 30 minutes to travel from Tianjin to Beijing and is a common mode of transport for commuters. A local railway authority “suspended” all train ticket sales from Tianjin to Beijing on Sunday afternoon according to China Daily, a newspaper owned by the publicity department of the Chinese Communist Party.

Tianjin Communist Party officials began a mandatory mass testing scheme for the Chinese coronavirus on January 9 allegedly for all of the city’s 15 million residents.

“As of Saturday night [January 8], Tianjin had quarantined 75,680 people,” the Global Times revealed on January 9. The cryptic report suggests Tianjin residents who test positive for the Chinese coronavirus as part of the city’s required testing stratagem may be forced to enter a state-run quarantine facility as well.

Tianjin’s proximity to Beijing threatens the Chinese national capital’s public health mere weeks before the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Games are scheduled to take place in Beijing from February 3 to February 20. Tianjin is itself a significant port city home to international commerce and relations. Chinese Communist Party officials recently chose Tianjin as a worthy substitute for Beijing when hosting several foreign delegations, including those from the U.S., during diplomatic meetings throughout 2021.

“The city is also one of north China’s most important oil and gas terminals, is a production base for European planemaker Airbus and hosts data storage centers for Chinese technology firms such as Tencent,” Reuters noted on Sunday.

Gabrielle Reyes