Worst COVID-19 cases in China: Are we heading to another wave?

 Tuesday, March 15, 2022 



China has placed the entire 17.5-million population of the tech hub of Shenzhen under lockdown as the government authorities scramble to contain a severe COVID-19 outbreak despite the country’s “zero tolerance” policy towards COVID-19 pandemic.

The financial city and the technology hub in China, Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong, the other metropolis battling an unprecedented virus surge, was put under lockdown on Sunday after 60 new COVID-19 cases were reported.

All businesses, except those that supply necessary items such as food and fuel, have been asked to shut while residents have been asked to undergo three rounds of testing. Officials have suspended public transport and urged people to work from home this week.

The Chinese city of Changchun, with nine million residents, was placed under a strict lockdown last Friday, while restrictions were tightened in multiple provinces in line with Beijing’s zero-tolerance policy of containing the spread of COVID-19.

Driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus, China has reported more cases of local transmissions in 2022 compared to last year. Mainland China on Sunday reported 1,337 new domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms. The Asian giant does not classify asymptomatic infections as confirmed Covid cases.

In the past week, new COVID-19 infections have been reported in some of China’s most populous cities such as the capital Beijing and Shanghai, along with Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong and Zhejiang provinces.

The northeastern province of Jilin recorded more than 1,000 new cases for the second day in a row, prompting authorities to ban residents leaving their cities without police permission.

The surge in cases comes soon after the conclusion of the Winter Olympics and is alarming for China, which has been relentless in its attempts to prevent the spread of the virus through some of the toughest restrictions.

According to reports, at least 26 officials in three provinces were dismissed due to their handling of local outbreaks. It is for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) on Friday approved COVID-19 rapid antigen tests for public use.

Zhang Wenhong, an infectious disease expert at a hospital affiliated with Shanghai’s Fudan University, noted in an essay for Caixin, that the numbers for the mainland were still in the early stages of an “exponential rise”.

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