March 13, 2022 – On Sunday, China reported 1,800 new symptomatic COVID-19 cases, representing the highest daily number in two years and more than tripling the number from the day before, according to 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 new number of locally transmitted asymptomatic cases, which the country does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 1,315 on Saturday from 1,048 the day before, Reuters reported. It marked the fourth day in a row with hikes.
Although China’s number of cases is far lower than other countries facing an increase, the growing number of complications pose a “zero tolerance” policy to isolate people and suppress the virus as quickly as possible, Reuters reported. The increase has prompted health authorities to allow the public to purchase 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 total national number and up from 134 the day before, Reuters reported.
The increase “showed that some local areas facing a rapid increase in the epidemic lacked the capacity to expand medical resources, resulting in limited hospitalization 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 Changchun locked the city, began mass tests 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 adjacent to Hong Kong will be shut down, according to 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 providing 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 arriving in Shanghai should have a negative test within 48 hours of arrival, the AP reported. Schools switched to online learning last Saturday.
In Hong Kong, a health official warned people not to assume that the recent Omicron rise was under control. The 7.4 million financial hub reported 32,000 new cases, down from about 50,000 after travel and business restrictions were imposed, the AP reported.
China Development Forum, a high-level business meeting in Beijing scheduled from 19-22. March, will be postponed indefinitely due to the current situation with coronavirus, Reuters reported.