China’s high-tech city of Shenzhen, with a population of more than 17 million, was the latest to shut down to control the surge in COVID-19 cases, as the government scrambled to contain the worst outbreak of cases of the virus in the past two years. Shenzhen will seal all communities and villages and suspend bus and subway services from Monday to Sunday due to the latest COVID-19 outbreak, China Daily reported Sunday.
Shenzhen, which has been battling an Omicron surge since late February, will conduct three rounds of COVID-19 tests across the city next week. In a statement, city authorities urged residents to work from home and only go out to buy basic necessities.
After surpassing 1,000 new cases for two consecutive days, new locally transmitted cases in China jumped to more than 3,100, the National Health Commission reported on Sunday. This is the highest in two years. All outbound travelers from Shenzhen must submit negative nucleic acid test results taken within the previous 24 hours, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. The situation is such that China is on the brink of its biggest COVID-19 crisis since Wuhan, according to the Post report.
The coronavirus first broke out in Wuhan in December 2019 before spreading to almost all parts of the world, claiming more than 6 million lives so far. It is significant that cases in China are on the rise as most countries open up after a decrease in cases.
China’s policy of zero COVID-19 cases has come under increasing strain in recent weeks, as several cities including Shanghai and Beijing see a new surge of cases. It came as 16 provinces reported new coronavirus infections, as did the four megacities – Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing.
Some local health authorities attributed the outbreak to the Omicron variant, which is more transmissible but causes less severe symptoms than the original COVID-19 virus, according to the Post report. On Saturday, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan urged regions experiencing severe outbreaks to eliminate COVID-19 cases among the general public as soon as possible.
As part of its COVID-19 responses, China has added antigen detection as an option for COVID-19 testing among the public, aiming to boost early discovery of COVID-19 cases. Shanghai has asked city residents not to leave and those who do must hold a certificate for a negative nucleic acid test taken 48 hours before departure, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The big spikes in cases came after a senior Chinese official claimed on March 4 that China was one of the best performing countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and attributed the success to its strict policies. from zero instances of restricting domestic and international travel with proactive local agents. lockdowns wherever the virus has surfaced. China’s aggressive zero-COVID approach has worked in the country’s context, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the National People’s Congress, the country’s parliament, told media.
Meanwhile, the situation continues to deteriorate in Hong Kong where authorities have confirmed 27,647 new cases of Covid-19, including 11,858 positives, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Sunday. The former British colony also reported 87 COVID-related deaths, bringing the overall toll to 3,729, according to the report.