The building in the west of the city has been sealed off, with everybody inside subject to compulsory mass Covid testing, since an employee tested positive for Omicron on Saturday -- the city's first recorded case of the highly transmissible variant. For the past week, officials in Beijing had been on high alert as an Omicron outbreak spread in Tianjin, a major port city just 30 minutes away by high-speed rail. The cluster had already spread to two other cities hundreds of miles away.
According to detailed surveillance data collected by officials, the Beijing woman infected with Omicron had not been in contact with any confirmed cases and hadn't left the capital in the past 14 days, raising fears the variant may already be spreading in the community. Unlike most of the world, China is pursuing a zero-Covid strategy that relies on stringent restrictions including mass testing, lockdowns and long quarantine for international arrivals.