NEW covid-19 wave hits china

1,000 new COVID-19 cases in dozens of cities

March 2022

COVID-19 wave PUTS 9 million people in quarantine

Mainland China reported a new  COVID-19 wave with over 1,000 newcases in dozens of cities, the highest daily count in about two years, with the Omicron variant forcing a northeastern city to go under lockdown and the financial hub Shanghai to close schools.

The reported daily count of China’s local cases, the highest since the initial nationwide outbreak in early 2020, is much smaller than many others outside China, but the growing number could complicate Beijing’s “dynamic-clearance” ambition to suppress contagion as quickly as possible.

In a move that may signal, Beijing is expecting a further spike in cases, authorities also said they would allow the use of rapid antigen tests for the first time to reduce the cases on this new COVID-19 wave. In other parts of the world rapid tests is widely used, but it was previously restricted in China.  

Original video ABC News Australia

The kits will now be available online or at pharmacies for clinics and ordinary citizens to buy for “self-testing”, the health commission said.

Although nucleic acid tests will continue to be the main method of testing, the move suggests China may be anticipating that official efforts will not be able to contain the virus.

Last week, a top Chinese scientist said the country should aim to coexist with the virus, like other nations, where Omicron has spread like wildfire.

But the government has also made clear that mass lockdowns remain an option.

Chinese vice-premier Sun Chunlan, who frequently telegraphs top-level thinking on the pandemic response, on Saturday urged regions to quickly pounce on and clear outbreaks.

China´s daily cases hit numbers not seen since 2020

moving to science-based decisions

China detected 703 domestically transmitted asymptomatic infections for Thursday, according to data from the health authority on Friday, up from 435 a day earlier.

Several cities with infections have taken measures such as launching multiple rounds of mass testing, limiting vehicular access to highways, cutting face-to-face classes in school and suspending indoor entertainment venues.

In the northeastern province of Jilin, now one of the hardest-hit regions as Omicron has spread in China, ordered all but essential businesses to halt operations and banned its 9 million residents from leaving their residential compounds for non-essential reasons.

“We will make COVID prevention and control more science-based and targeted according to changes in the epidemic situation and characteristics of the virus,” Premier Li Keqiang told a press conference after the close of the annual parliamentary session in Beijing.

Covid-19 infections increase on new virus wave
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Chinese virologists say the arrival of the Omicron variant and its new “stealth” subvariant—both of which appear to evade China’s Sinovac vaccine—could leave zero-COVID policy in tatters.

New stealth subvariant of omicron suspends nonessentials services

“Since the epidemic started, the service sector has been hit the most, especially those involving in-person contact, of which medium and small-firms account for the majority.”

Express (clothing retail chain) said on Friday it had suspended deliveries of parcels and mail to the mainland from Hong Kong and Macau, citing the mainland’s virus control requirements, without giving details.

Shanghai, fighting its biggest outbreak in around two years, said it would from Saturday shift classes for all primary, middle and high schools online and suspend kindergartens and preschools.

Targeted lockdowns of buildings have caused anxiety among residents in Shanghai, while complaints that some university students in Jilin were not promptly moved to designated quarantine sites or had not received certain daily necessities triggered social media anger.

“Infections in vaccinated individuals are more likely to be asymptomatic than infections in unvaccinated individuals, and vaccine coverage is now very high in China,” said Ben Cowling, an epidemiology professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Around 87% of China’s 1.4 billion population had received complete doses for primary vaccination as of late February, and around 40% of the population had received a booster shot.

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