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Beijing Says International Mail Is Possible Culprit in First Omicron Case

January 18, 2022
image 1BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 01: The Emblem of Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games is installed at Shijingshan district on August 1, 2021 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

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Health authorities in Beijing said they haven’t been able to trace the source of the Chinese capital’s first local Omicron infection but indicated it might have arrived by international mail.
Beijing announced the Omicron case on Saturday after the patient developed a low-grade fever on Friday and took a voluntary test that came back positive for Covid-19. Authorities sealed off the patient’s residential compound and office building, and launched contact-tracing efforts.
Tests for more than 16,500 people identified as potentially being exposed to the patient came back negative, Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the city’s municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press conference on Monday.
Location data showed that the patient, who had no recent travel history, hadn’t shared space with any other known Omicron patients or their contacts, or anyone who had recently returned from abroad, Ms. Pang said in comments reported by Chinese state media.
However, traces of the Omicron variant were found in samples collected from a piece of mail sent from Canada that patient had touched, Ms. Pang said, adding that the mail “could not be ruled out” as the source of the exposure.
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