China reports new omicron sub-variant, daily cases exceed 13,000
- The new virus found 70km from Shanghai
- China reported 12,000 cases on Saturday which were labelled asymptomatic
- The country reported 13,146 cases on Sunday which is the highest since mid-February 2020
The new virus, isolated from a mild COVID-19 patient in a city less than 70 kilometres (43 miles) from Shanghai, evolves from the BA.1.1 branch of the omicron variant, Global Times reported, citing sequencing data from local health authorities. The report said the subtype does not match other coronavirus variants that are causing COVID-19 in China nor those submitted to GISAID, where scientists around the world share the coronavirus they sequenced as a way to monitor mutations.
A case in Dalian city in northern China reported on Friday also did not match any other coronavirus variants found domestically, the municipal government said on its WeChat account.
China reported 12,000 cases on Saturday which were labelled asymptomatic.
The country’s Vice Premier Sun Chunlan arrived in the country's virus hotspot of Shanghai to oversee prevention efforts, as she ordered officials to curtail the outbreak "as soon as possible," according to Xinhua. Cases in the financial hub exceeded 8,000 on Saturday including 7,788 asymptomatic infections. Shanghai will start a new round of mass testing on Monday, authorities said.
Sun, who previously went to Jilin to oversee lockdown measures in the northeast province, ordered Shanghai officials to "resolutely" conduct measures to stop the outbreak. All of the metropolis' 25 million residents are currently under some form of quarantine.
In the city of Sanya in Hainan province, authorities suspended all transportation to stymie the spread of Covid, according to a post on an official WeChat account.
On Sunday, the 1.5 million residents of Baicheng in northeast China joined the ranks of tens of millions of other Chinese who have endured some form of lockdown over the last month, disrupting work and damaging the economy.
China registered 13,146 cases on Sunday. It is the country's highest daily infection tally since mid-February 2020.
Around 70 % of the national caseload was found in Shanghai, the commission said, after mass testing the metropolis' 25 million residents.