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China reported 1,800 new symptomatic COVID-19 cases on Sunday, representing the highest daily figure in two years and more than triple the number from the day before, according to Reuters.
On Saturday, the country’s National Health Commission reported 476 cases, which included 114 people initially classified as asymptomatic who later developed symptoms.
China’s number of new locally transmitted asymptomatic cases, which the country doesn’t classify as confirmed cases, rose to 1,315 on Saturday from 1,048 a day before, Reuters reported. That marked the fourth consecutive day of increases.
Although China’s case count is far lower than other countries facing a surge, the growing numbers are posing complications for the “zero tolerance” policy to isolate people and suppress the virus as quickly as possible, Reuters reported. The surge has prompted health officials to allow the public to buy rapid self-test kits for the first time to detect infections.
Now 16 provinces are reporting new cases, as well as the four major cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing. The northeastern province of Jilin reported 1,400 of the new cases, accounting for 78% of the national total and up from 134 a day before, Reuters reported.
The increase “showed that some local areas, facing a rapid rise in the epidemic, lacked the capacity to expand medical resources, resulting in limited admission of infections to centralized facilities within a short period of time,” a Jilin official said during a news briefing.
On Friday, authorities in Jilin’s provincial capital of Changchun locked down the city, began mass testing, and turned an exhibition center into a temporary hospital with 1,500 beds.
On Sunday, the southern business hub Shenzhen reported 60 new local cases, marking the city’s highest since early 2020. Officials announced that the city of 17.5 million people, which abuts Hong Kong, will be shut down, according to The Associated Press.
Bus and subway services will also be suspended, city officials said, and everyone in Shenzhen will undergo three rounds of testing. All businesses except those that supply food, fuel, and necessary services will close or work from home this week, the AP reported.
In Shanghai, China’s most populous city with 24 million people, the number of cases increased by 15 to 432 cases. City officials told the public to avoid unnecessary travel and said those who arrive in Shanghai must have a negative test within 48 hours before arrival, the AP reported. Schools shifted to online learning on Saturday.
In Hong Kong, a health official warned people not to assume the latest Omicron surge was under control. The financial hub of 7.4 million reported 32,000 new cases, which is down from about 50,000 after travel and business restrictions were imposed, the AP reported.
Créditos: Comité científico Covid