The outbreak has already spread to Anyang, a city in Henan province some 300 miles (482 kilometers) away, prompting a full lockdown. On Wednesday, the city of Dalian in northeastern China said two recent returnees from Tianjin had tested positive -- raising fears that the new variant has spread to another city.
The Omicron outbreak is particularly worrying to officials in Beijing, which lies about 80 miles northwest of Tianjin -- and about 30 minutes away by high-speed rail. The Chinese capital is due to host the Winter Olympics on February 4. Tianjin officials said at a news conference Tuesday that all bus services to Beijing had been suspended. Train tickets from Tianjin to Beijing have been closed for purchase online since Sunday evening.