HomeHealthChina's fresh Covid-19 outbreak suspected to be driven by Omicron BA.2 variant

China’s fresh Covid-19 outbreak suspected to be driven by Omicron BA.2 variant

Beijing: China is witnessing a massive surge in COVID-19 cases with tens of millions of people are living under lockdown at present to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus, media reports said.

This outbreak has spread far faster than previous waves of less infectious variants, with daily cases skyrocketing from a few dozen in February to more than 5,100 on Tuesday — the highest figure since the early 2020 outbreak in Wuhan, reports CNN.

As of Tuesday, cases have been reported in 21 provinces and municipalities nationwide, including the national capital Beijing, and other major cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen, reports the American news channel.

According to media reports, 37 million people in the country are currently under lockdown.

Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan Sunday stressed taking the most thorough epidemic response measures to stem the COVID-19 outbreaks in northeast China’s Jilin Province, among the hardest-hit areas as Omicron spreads in the country, reports Xinhua.

The Omicron BA.2 variant is considered as the reason behind the recent wave of virus outbreak.

“The Omicron BA.2 variant was behind the sudden resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Jilin City. It is more contagious and harder to detect and appears to spread more quickly,” Sun Dianwei, head of the center for disease control and prevention in Jilin City, told Xinhua News Agency.

Sun said that based on the data analysis as of Mar 11, around 56 percent of those infected in the city showed no symptoms — making it harder to track down the new cases.

China diverts more than 100 flights from Shanghai

China’s aviation regulator said on Tuesday that it will be diverting around 106 international flights that were scheduled to arrive in Shanghai to other Chinese cities between March 21 to May 1 due to the worsening Covid-19 situation across the country.  The flights that will be impacted include those operated by Air China, China Eastern, Shanghai Airlines, Juneyao Air and Spring Airlines, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said.

China is facing yet another wave of COVID-19 pandemic outbreaking, forcing authorities to put  17.5 million residents of Shenzhen into lockdown for at least a week, media reports said on Monday.

Also read: New research finds Wuhan market as Covid origin

Authorities also forbid  people from leaving Jilin.

The country is witnessing a tough phase of the pandemic for the first time since COVID-19 outbreak was reported in Wuhan in 2020.

The Shenzhen lockdown, which came after new virus cases doubled nationwide to nearly 3,400, will be accompanied by three rounds of city-wide, mass testing. Called with little notice on Sunday, the order followed earlier restrictions placed on Shenzhen’s central business district, and will last until March 20, reports Bloomberg.

All bus and subway systems in the city were shut, and businesses, except those providing essential services, have been closed. Employees were told to work from home if they can, reports the media.

Residents of the city have been prevented from leaving it.

Meanwhile, Foxconn, one of Apple’s biggest suppliers, has suspended operations in Shenzhen.

The world’s second largest economy is still doggedly pursuing its zero-Covid strategy, even as other nations reopen and try to live with the virus. The lockdowns in major Chinese cities will impact not just the country’s post-pandemic recovery, but could deliver a new blow to global supply chains, reports CNN.

In its statement provided to CNN Business on Monday, Foxconn said that the “date of factory resumption is to be advised by the local government.”

With UNI inputs

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