China records nearly 3,400 daily Covid cases, highest in two years

Beijing, March 13 : China recorded 3,393 new Covid-19 cases Sunday, the National Health Commission said, Khaleej Times reported. These new cases are more than double the number of cases recorded on Saturday, and the highest in two years. This new surge in Covid cases has been a nationwide phenomenon which has forced authorities to close schools in the city of Shanghai apart from enforcing a complete lock down across several northeastern cities. Currently as many as 19 provinces are battling local outbreaks of the Omicron and Delta variants. The city of Jilin has been under partial lock down down, with hundreds of neighbourhoods being sealed, an official announced Sunday. China, where the Covid virus was first detected two years ago, has maintained a strict ‘zero-Covid’ policy which is enforced by imposing swift lockdowns, travel restrictions and mass testing when clusters have emerged. But according to health authorities the latest flare-up, is being driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant and a spike in asymptomatic cases which reflects that the spread of the Omicron variant is hidden, highly contagious, rapid and difficult to detect in the early stages. The neighbouring city of Changchun, with a population of nine million people, was under locked down Friday. This led to the mayor of Jilin and the head of the Changchun health commission being dismissed from their jobs Saturday. Smaller cities like Siping and Dunhua, both in Jilin province, were also under locked down Thursday and Friday. Hunchun city, bordering Russia and North Korea, was locked down March 1, local authorities said. Three makeshift hospitals were built in the city to treat Covid-19 patients. ACL1019

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