Tianjin, a port and manufacturing center with 14 million people, is one of a half-dozen cities where the government is imposing lockdowns and other restrictions as part of a policy that aims to track down every virus case. But the outbreak in a city so close to the Olympic host is particularly worrying. Throughout the pandemic, authorities have been especially protective of Beijing since it is the seat of government and home to senior politicians. With the Games opening there in just over three weeks and China’s national pride on the line, the stakes are even higher now.
On Thursday, Tianjin suspended train, taxi, bus and ride-hailing services to other cities. Flights and high-speed train services were canceled earlier and highways closed. People leaving the city were required to present negative virus tests and receive special permission. Elsewhere, more than 20 million people under lockdown in China, including in the western city of Xi’an. Some are barred from leaving their homes.