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Omicron has breached the political, financial and technological centers of China for the first time, putting pressure on the country’s response to the more transmissible variant as it awaits the Winter Olympics starting in less than three weeks.

China has detected locally transmitted omicron infections in the capital Beijing, the financial center Shanghai and Guangdong — where the southern technology center of Shenzhen is located — areas which together account for one-fifth of the country’s gross domestic product. The highly mutated strain has been detected in 1 out of every 5 provinces, while 14 of them have reported imported cases.

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