China has detected its first cases of the omicron coronavirus variant in two patients who had recently returned to the country from abroad, state media reported this week.

One of the two patients was identified in Tianjin, a major port city near Beijing, while staying at a quarantine facility, local authorities told the Tianjin Daily newspaper. A local health official said Tuesday that the patient, who has been transferred to a designated hospital for coronavirus treatment, does not have a cough or a fever.

China is one of the last countries maintaining a zero-tolerance COVID policy, with Beijing requiring all inbound travelers to quarantine for two to three weeks and to undergo repeated testing.

Authorities from the southern city of Guangzhou reported one case of the omicron variant Tuesday. The patient was a 67-year-old man who tested positive while under home quarantine; he had completed two weeks of quarantine in dedicated facilities in Shanghai and was allowed to fly to Guangzhou on Saturday.

Wu Hao, a public health expert who advises the central government on coronavirus policies, insisted that China is “very safe,” given that the two cases had minimal contact with the general population.

“The omicron variant fundamentally is still a coronavirus, and the pattern with which it spreads is similar to past coronaviruses,” Wu said in an interview with Beijing Daily. “So the conventional methods of protection are still effective.”

Since early 2020, China has shuttered its doors to most foreigners while strictly managing the movement of citizens returning home. Most reported cases since the virus was first detected in Wuhan have been traced to overseas returnees, the government claims.

China is battling a spate of cases in Zhejiang province, where about 200 infections have been detected since last week. To clamp down on the spread, regional travel restrictions will be in place until March, according to provincial officials.

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