Henan in central China has become the first province in the country to officially combat Omicron and Delta coronavirus variants at the same time, after the city of Anyang confirmed two Omicron infections on Monday. In all, 58 new community cases were detected in Anyang, city authorities said on Tuesday, bringing the total number of new cases in the province to 144. While it remained unclear whether all the new cases were the result of the Omicron variant, 56 out of 58 new Anyang cases were reported in Tangyin county, where the city identified its first case of the variant. The Anyang outbreak has been traced to a university student infected with the Omicron variant who arrived from Tianjin on December 28, but this case was only discovered during compulsory mass screening on Saturday. The Beijing News quoted the student as saying he did not develop any symptoms and some of his relatives had previously tested positive for Covid-19. On Monday evening, the more than 5 million people in the city were banned from leaving their homes unless to get a Covid-19 test. Private vehicles are also ordered off the road to curb the spread of this highly transmissible variant. Authorities have halted the sales of train tickets from Anyang to Beijing, which will host the Winter Olympics in less than a month. Zhang Boli, a Covid-19 specialist and president of the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, told Science and Technology Daily on Monday that the stealthy nature of Omicron would put extra pressure on China’s prevention and control efforts. He also said that the outbreaks in the northeast port city of Tianjin involved many students, suggesting that young people were at higher risk of contracting Omicron compared with the Delta and other strains of the coronavirus. Anyang resident Nora Du said the situation in Henan was alarming. “Even at the start of the pandemic in 2020, doctors in second-tier cities [in Henan] were not mobilised to go to the front line,” said Du, whose husband is a medical worker. “But this time, not only the nurses, but senior doctors are also fighting on the front line. Only a few doctors are left to sustain basic operations.” Several other cities in Henan have also reported Covid-19 cases. Xuchang, which logged its first case about two weeks ago, reported 74 new cases on Tuesday, up from 21 on Monday. In Yuzhou, a city administered by Xuchang and one of the centres of the latest outbreak, residents entered their 10th day of lockdown. Omicron threat prompts Lunar New Year travel warnings from Chinese cities In the provincial capital Zhengzhou, more than 8,000 people were put under centralised quarantine and nearly 60,000 people were quarantined at home. Meanwhile, restaurants in Zhengzhou have suspended dine-in services, and venues like hair salons have closed their doors. Several subway stations were also closed. Zhengzhou authorities announced on Tuesday that construction of 5,000 centralised quarantine units had started and would be in service in April. Genetic sequencing indicates that the Delta variants in Xuchang and Zhengzhou have the same structure, but their origin remains unclear.