China’s new Covid-19 case is more than double the outbreak
China’s new Covid-19 case is more than double the outbreak

China’s new Covid-19 case is more than double the outbreak

HONG KONG — China’s new daily Covid-19 case more than doubled, driven by a worsening outbreak in northeastern Jilin that has seen authorities ban travel to or from the province and restrict the movements of millions of residents.

Mi Feng, a spokesman for China’s pandemic control task force, called the situation “serious and complicated,” a news conference said Tuesday that China had registered more than 15,000 symptomatic locally transmitted infections in 28 provinces so far in March, mainly due to the spread of more contagious Omicron variant.

The 5,154 new symptomatic and asymptomatic infections found on Monday are the highest since the beginning of 2020, when the epidemic first broke out in China. About 4,000 were from Jilin province, according to data from the National Health Commission published on Tuesday.

The majority of the infections were in Jilin City and the nearby provincial capital Changchun, where residents had already been placed under “closed management.” Unnecessary businesses have to close and people stay home, with a household member allowed out every other day to buy food and other necessities while all residents go through several rounds of testing.

Since the first case was discovered in Jilin on March 1, new infections in the province had been around 100 a day. But numbers rose on Saturday, and China’s deputy prime minister in charge of its anti-Covid strategy, Sun Chunlan, arrived the next day to spearhead the campaign to stop the outbreak.

Sun asked authorities to speed up the screening using both nucleic acid and rapid antigen tests, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Seven hospitals were ordered to empty their wards and reverse all efforts to treat symptomatic Covid-19 patients. The province is also building five makeshift treatment facilities to house and observe asymptomatic cases, bringing the number of beds available to nearly 30,000, according to data provided by the Jilin provincial government during a press briefing on Tuesday.

As countries loosen Covid-19 restrictions, Hong Kong is sticking to a ‘dynamic zero-Covid’ approach – with the help of Beijing. An increase in cases has overwhelmed hospitals and threatens business confidence in the global financial center. Photo: Bertha Wang / Bloomberg

Outbreak in the financial and technological hubs of Shanghai and Shenzhen, with 139 and 60 mostly asymptomatic new cases on Monday, respectively, have also prompted local authorities to restrict citizen mobility, albeit with more targeted and differentiated measures. On Sunday, Shenzhen recorded a daily record of 80 new infections.

On Saturday, Ms Sun said in a televised speech to the Prime Minister’s Pandemic Task Force that China should adhere to “the general policy of ‘dynamic clearing’ without faltering or relaxing.” According to the policy, local authorities are obliged to bring any outbreak under control as soon as possible by identifying the source of infections and cutting further transmission through testing and isolation.

The measures in China vary from region to region and in length, depending on the size of the outbreak and local conditions such as population density and the resources available to the authorities.

Write to Sha Hua at [email protected]

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