Daily cases in China of COVID symptoms more than triple

Residents queue outside a hospital’s nucleic acid testing site, following cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shanghai, China, March 11, 2022. China Daily via Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – Mainland China on Sunday reported 1,807 new domestically transmitted cases of the COVID-19 virus, the highest daily number in two years and more than triple the number of cases the day before, as a surge in infections in a northeastern province put pressure on the country. health resources. .

Data from the National Health Commission on Sunday showed that the number of locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms on Saturday increased from 476 the day before. The daily count included 114 people who were initially classified as asymptomatic and who subsequently developed symptoms.

The number of cases in China is much lower than that of many other countries, but the growing number may complicate Beijing’s ambition of “dynamic clearance” to suppress the infection as quickly as possible.

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The surge prompted health authorities to allow the public to buy rapid self-test kits for the first time to help detect infection quickly, with some experts saying China’s previous strategy based on DNA testing – which required medical workers to take samples – had become more difficult with the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. . Read more

The northeastern province of Jilin reported 1,412 new localized asymptomatic cases on Saturday, representing 78% of the national total and up from 134 the day before.

The increase “showed that some local areas, which are facing a rapid escalation of the epidemic, lack the capacity to expand medical resources, resulting in limited infection entry into central facilities within a short period of time,” a Jilin provincial official said at a press briefing. .

Authorities in Changchun, the provincial capital already under lockdown, have conducted mass testing and are working to convert the exhibition center into a 1,500-bed temporary hospital, according to local official reports and state media.

The Southern Technology Center in Shenzhen reported 60 new local cases with confirmed symptoms on Saturday, the highest rate in the city since China contained its first outbreak in early 2020.

Authorities said in a statement that Shenzhen will suspend public transportation including buses and subways from Monday, and residents have been asked not to leave the city unless necessary, as the city conducts three rounds of mass testing.

All nine provinces in Shenzhen have suspended dining in restaurants, closed indoor entertainment venues and required businesses to work from home Monday through Friday if remote work is possible, with exceptions for those working in essential sectors.

Six local government officials or Communist Party authorities in the southern city of Dongguan have been sacked from their roles for doing a bad job in the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus, state media said on Sunday.

The organizer said in a statement that the China Development Forum, a high-level business gathering in Beijing originally scheduled for March 19-22, will be postponed indefinitely due to the COVID situation.

NHC data showed that the number of new, locally transmitted asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 1,315 on Saturday from 1,048 the day before, the fourth consecutive day of increases.

There were no new deaths bringing the death toll to 4,636. As of March 12, mainland China had reported 115,466 cases with confirmed symptoms, including both domestic cases and those from outside the mainland.

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(Reporting by Kevin Yao and Roxanne Liu) Editing by William Mallard, Jerry Doyle and Susan Fenton

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