China, on Sunday, reported over 13,146 COVID cases, which is the highest the country has seen since the first wave peaked over two years back, Agence France-Presse reported. The spike is due to the highly transmissible omicron variant, that has spread to different regions.
The National Health Commission’s statement details “There were 1,455 patients with symptoms …. 11,691 asymptomatic cases… and no new deaths reported”, AFP said.
Shanghai, China’s capital, and the epicentre of the COVID outbreak saw almost all of its 25 million residents placed under stay-at-home orders on Saturday, as officials tried to curb the spread. The city showed 8,200 cases on Sunday, which is almost 70% of the total in the nation. It isn’t alarming on a global scale but spells trouble for a nation that recorded active cases in the double digits for most of the last two years.
Residents in Shanghai have begun expressing their frustration with the lockdowns that were initially announced to mass-test the city and expected to last for only four days. However, now they seem likely to extend late into the next week or even longer.
China, where COVID was first detected in 2019, is one of the last countries to follow a zero-COVID approach. This outlook toward the pandemic means that the nation is focused on stemming the spread of the virus. It takes place through lockdowns and mass testing.
Currently, Shanghai’s restrictions also threaten to disrupt supply chains in China, with shipping giant Maersk noting that some depots stay closed in the city and trucking services are also likely to take a hit since the government introduced a lockdown.
With the emergence of the new BA.2. variant there is a greater concern since that version of omicron is extremely viral. Some countries like the US are considering a fourth booster as a means of protecting their people from contracting the disease.