China Battles Multiple Covid-19 Outbreaks, Driven By Stealth Omicron

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — As the fast-spreading “stealth omicron” type generates the country’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began two years ago, China restricted most people from leaving a coronavirus-hit northeastern province and activated military reservists on Monday.

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In the most recent 24-hour period, the National Health Commission reported 1,337 locally transmitted cases, including 895 in the industrial province of Jilin. According to a government notice, people who want to leave the area or go from one city to another will need police clearance.

According to official broadcaster CCTV

the hard-hit province dispatched 7,000 reservists to assist with the response, which included everything from maintaining order and registering individuals at testing stations to aerial spraying and cleaning using drones.

Hundreds of cases have also been reported in provinces and cities along China’s east coast and inland. Beijing, which reported six new cases, and Shanghai, which reported 41, both shut down residential and office buildings where infected people were discovered.

“Every day when I go to work, I fear that if our office building is suddenly locked down, I won’t be able to get home,” said Yimeng Li, a Shanghai resident. “So I bought a sleeping bag and kept some fast food at the office in case,” he said.

While the numbers in mainland China are tiny in comparison to many other countries, including the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, they are the highest since COVID-19 killed thousands in Wuhan in early 2020. In the most recent outbreaks, no deaths have been documented.

In the most recent 24-hour period, Hong Kong reported 26,908 new cases and 249 deaths.

The city counts cases differently than the rest of the country, combining results from quick antigen tests and PCR tests Carrie Lam, the city’s mayor, said officials will not increase pandemic restrictions for the time being. At a press conference, she remarked, “I have to examine whether the public, whether the people would support greater measures.”

Omicron Cases

While the numbers are minor in comparison to those reported in Europe or the United States, or even Hong Kong, which recorded 32,000 cases on Sunday, they are the largest since Covid-19’s first major epidemic in Wuhan in early 2020.

Since the strict Wuhan lockdown, China has seen very few infections as the government has stuck to its zero-tolerance strategy, which focuses on stopping coronavirus transmission as quickly as possible by enforcing strict lockdowns and mandatory quarantines for anyone who has come into contact with a positive case.

For the time being, the administration has stated that it will stick to its tight transmission-stopping strategy.

In an essay for China’s business magazine Caixin on Monday, Zhang Wenhong, a prominent infectious disease expert at a hospital connected with Shanghai’s Fudan University, warned that the mainland statistics were still in the early stages of a “exponential surge.” On Monday, Shanghai confirmed 41 more cases.

Mr Zhang pointed out that the “stealth Omicron” variety, or the B.A.2 lineage of the Omicron variant, is driving much of the present outbreak. According to preliminary studies, it spreads faster than the original Omicron virus, which spread faster than the original virus and other versions.

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With 895 new cases, the far northeastern Jilin province accounted for the great bulk of the new cases. Residents in Shenzhen reported 75 new cases as the first of three rounds of mass testing began. Officials shut down the city, which has a population of 17.5 million people and is a major innovation and finance centre that borders Hong Kong, on Sunday.

People have been infected in places all around China, from Shenzhen to Qingdao on the coast to Xingtai in the north, and the numbers have been gradually rising since early March. While the numbers are minor in comparison to those reported in Europe or the United States, or even Hong Kong, which recorded 32,000 cases on Sunday, they are the largest since the first major COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan in early 2020.

According to Zhang, the variety known as stealth omicron

or the B.A.2 lineage of the omicron variant, is driving much of the present outbreak. According to preliminary study, it spreads quicker than the original omicron virus, which spread faster than the original virus and other versions.

“However, if our country opens up rapidly now, a significant number of individuals would become infected in a short period of time,” Zhang wrote on Monday. “Regardless of how low the death rate is, it will generate a rush on medical resources and a short-term social shock, causing irreversible harm to families and society.”

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