The southern Chinese metropolis of Zhuhai suspended public bus routes on Saturday after saying it had detected at the least seven instances of the extremely transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant there and warning residents not to depart the town.

The coastal metropolis of Zhuhai, which borders the playing hub Macau, mentioned late Friday Omicron had been detected in a single mildly ailing and 6 asymptomatic sufferers, after launching mass testing due to a case in a neighbouring metropolis.

China is battling a spate of coronavirus outbreaks, together with a number of from the Omicron variant, because the nation steps up vigilance in opposition to the virus forward of the Beijing Winter Olympics subsequent month.

Millions of individuals throughout the nation have been ordered to keep residence in latest weeks, with scores of home flights cancelled and factories shut down.

Zhuhai officers have requested residents to keep away from leaving the town “except needed”, with those who are required to show negative Covid test results within the past 24 hours.

The city had launched mass testing for its population of 2.4 million people on Friday after a Covid case was detected in neighbouring Zhongshan earlier in the week.

Businesses including beauty salons, card rooms, gyms and cinemas were ordered to close on Thursday, with officials announcing the suspension of public bus routes in parts of the city.

China has kept Covid-19 cases relatively low throughout the pandemic with its zero-tolerance strategy of immediately ordering mass testing and strict lockdowns when infections are detected.

But the fast-spreading Omicron variant has tested that strategy in recent weeks, appearing in the port city of Tianjin close to Beijing before spreading to the central city of Anyang.

National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng told reporters on Saturday that the country faced a “twofold challenge” from each the Delta and Omicron strains of the virus.

He warned that areas that had not but seen outbreaks “should not chill out” their prevention measures and “strengthen risk auditing”.

The nation reported 104 domestically transmitted Covid-19 instances on Saturday.

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