Covid-19 cases more than double in China’s growing outbreak

The National Health Commission said 3,507 new locally spread cases had been identified in the latest 24-hour period, up from 1,337 a day earlier.

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China’s new Covid-19 cases have more than doubled in a day as it faces by far its biggest outbreak since the early days of the pandemic.

The National Health Commission said 3,507 new locally spread cases had been identified in the latest 24-hour period, up from 1,337 a day earlier.

A worker prepares food supplies to be delivered to residents of a residential compound under lockdown, outside the compound following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China December 29, 2021. Picture taken December 29, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.
A worker prepares food supplies to be delivered to residents of a residential compound under lockdown, outside the compound following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China December 29, 2021. Picture taken December 29, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.

A fast-spreading variant known as “stealth Omicron” is testing China’s zero-tolerance strategy, which has previously kept the virus at bay after a deadly initial outbreak in early 2020.

Most of the new cases were in northeast China’s Jilin province, where 2,601 were reported. Smaller outbreaks have broken out around the country, including in the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

China has banned most people from leaving a coronavirus-hit north-eastern province and mobilised military reservists as the fast-spreading “stealth Omicron” variant fuels the country’s biggest outbreak since the start of the pandemic two years ago.

The National Health Commission reported 1,337 locally transmitted cases in the latest 24-hour period, including 895 in the industrial province of Jilin province.

Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds at the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds at the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 5, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

A government notice said that police permission would be required for people to leave the area or travel from one city to another.

The hard-hit province sent 7,000 reservists to help with the response, from keeping order and registering people at testing centres to using drones to carry out aerial spraying and disinfection, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Hundreds of cases were reported in other provinces and cities along China’s east coast and inland as well.

Beijing, which had six new cases, and Shanghai, with 41, locked down residential and office buildings where infected people had been found.