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Omicron Covid-19 variant puts the world into competition


Medical workers prepare for Covid-19 tests on November 28 in Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in northeastern China.
Medical workers prepare for Covid-19 tests on November 28 in Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region in northeastern China. (Zhang Hechang / VCG / Getty Images)

China has closed several cities near its northern border with Mongolia, following several outbreaks of Covid-19.

The largest outbreak was in the city of Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia, an important port of entry bordering Russia.

On Tuesday, the city had 34 confirmed cases, bringing the total to 73 since the current outbreak began on Saturday.

Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region in northeastern China, bordering the independent nation of Mongolia and Russia.

On Monday, a total of 42 cases of local transmission were also reported across two provinces and three centrally-run cities in northern China, mainly in the city of Hulunbuir.

According to the local government, the city of Manzhouli conducted three citywide mass inspections of its 300,000 residents within three days. The third round of testing took place on Tuesday morning.

The city has been heavily embargoed, with public transport suspended and 24-hour guarded checkpoints set up around its borders.

All residents are prohibited from going outside – except for medical support staff and material delivery personnel. Businesses, schools, universities and kindergartens are all closed across Manzhouli, the local government said in a press release on Monday.

The Center for Epidemiology Prevention and Control in Manzhouli said the genetic sequencing of the first three cases in Manzhouli suggested that the infections may have spread through “imported goods”.

From December 1, Manzhouli Railway Port will suspend the import of non-container goods that need to be handled manually.

Several other cities – hundreds of miles from Manzhouli – have also been locked down, with main roads connecting the districts blocked.

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