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COVID-19 Outbreak | China battles multiple outbreaks, driven by stealth omicron

Chinese authorities reported 1,337 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 across dozens of mainland cities on March 14 as the fast-spreading variant commonly known as “stealth omicron” fuels China’s biggest outbreak in two years.

March 14, 2022 / 06:07 PM IST
Chinese authorities reported 1,337 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 across dozens of mainland cities on March 14 as the fast-spreading variant commonly known as “stealth omicron” fuels China’s biggest outbreak in two years. (Image: AP)
Chinese authorities reported 1,337 locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 across dozens of mainland cities on March 14 as the fast-spreading variant commonly known as “stealth omicron” fuels China’s biggest outbreak in two years. (Image: AP)
The vast majority of the new cases — 895 — were in far northeastern Jilin province, where the COVID-19 task force effectively banned movement throughout the province. People can leave the province or travel from one city to another only with permission from the police, according to the government notice. (Image: AP)
The vast majority of the new cases — 895 — were in far northeastern Jilin province, where the COVID-19 task force effectively banned movement throughout the province. People can leave the province or travel from one city to another only with permission from the police, according to the government notice. (Image: AP)
The surge is infecting people in cities ranging from Shenzhen to Qingdao on the coast, to Xingtai in the north and the numbers have crept steadily higher since early March. While the mainland's numbers are small relative to numbers reported in Europe or in the U.S., or even the city of Hong Kong, which had reported 32,000 cases on March 13, they are the highest since the first big outbreak of COVID-19 in the central city of Wuhan in early 2020. (Image: AP)
The surge is infecting people in cities ranging from Shenzhen to Qingdao on the coast, to Xingtai in the north and the numbers have crept steadily higher since early March. While the mainland's numbers are small relative to numbers reported in Europe or in the U.S., or even the city of Hong Kong, which had reported 32,000 cases on March 13, they are the highest since the first big outbreak of COVID-19 in the central city of Wuhan in early 2020. (Image: AP)
China has seen very few infections since its strict Wuhan lockdown as the government held fast to its zero-tolerance strategy, which is focused on stopping transmission of the coronavirus by relying on strict lockdowns and mandatory quarantines for anyone who has come into contact with a positive case. (Image: AP)
China has seen very few infections since its strict Wuhan lockdown as the government held fast to its zero-tolerance strategy, which is focused on stopping transmission of the coronavirus by relying on strict lockdowns and mandatory quarantines for anyone who has come into contact with a positive case. (Image: AP)
The government has indicated it will continue to stick to its strict strategy of stopping transmission for the time being. On March 13, officials locked down the southern city of Shenzhen which has 17.5 million people and is a major tech and finance hub that neighbors Hong Kong. (Image: AP)
The government has indicated it will continue to stick to its strict strategy of stopping transmission for the time being. On March 13, officials locked down the southern city of Shenzhen which has 17.5 million people and is a major tech and finance hub that neighbors Hong Kong. (Image: AP)
On March 14, Zhang Wenhong, a prominent infectious disease expert at a hospital affiliated with Shanghai's Fudan University noted in an essay for China's business outlet Caixin, that the numbers for the mainland were still in the beginning stages of an “exponential rise.” Shanghai confirmed 41 new cases on March 14. (Image: AP)
On March 14, Zhang Wenhong, a prominent infectious disease expert at a hospital affiliated with Shanghai's Fudan University noted in an essay for China's business outlet Caixin, that the numbers for the mainland were still in the beginning stages of an “exponential rise.” Shanghai confirmed 41 new cases on March 14. (Image: AP)
The city has recorded 713 cases in March, of which 632 are asymptomatic cases. China counts positive and asymptomatic cases separately in its national numbers. Signs of normal life in Shanghai are abating, as schools switched to remote learning and office buildings closed. Shanghai has primarily relied on locking down single buildings instead of the whole city. (Image: AP)
The city has recorded 713 cases in March, of which 632 are asymptomatic cases. China counts positive and asymptomatic cases separately in its national numbers. Signs of normal life in Shanghai are abating, as schools switched to remote learning and office buildings closed. Shanghai has primarily relied on locking down single buildings instead of the whole city. (Image: AP)
Yimeng Li, a 28-year-old Shanghai resident, said she's on high alert because of the possibility of suddenly being quarantined. Some of her colleagues have been absent because they've been required to quarantine at home. (Image: AP)
Yimeng Li, a 28-year-old Shanghai resident, said she's on high alert because of the possibility of suddenly being quarantined. Some of her colleagues have been absent because they've been required to quarantine at home. (Image: AP)
In Beijing, which reported six cases on March 14, multiple residential and commercial buildings were sealed off over the weekend. City residents said they were willing to follow the zero-tolerance policies despite any personal impact. (Image: AP)
In Beijing, which reported six cases on March 14, multiple residential and commercial buildings were sealed off over the weekend. City residents said they were willing to follow the zero-tolerance policies despite any personal impact. (Image: AP)
In Hong Kong, whose numbers are tracked separately, officials reported 26,908 new cases on March 14, a slight dip in the numbers as compared to March 13. The city, which is a special administrative region, counts its COVID-19 case numbers differently from the mainland, combining both rapid antigen tests and PCR test results. Hong Kong has refrained so far from a total lockdown. (Image: AP)
In Hong Kong, whose numbers are tracked separately, officials reported 26,908 new cases on March 14, a slight dip in the numbers as compared to March 13. The city, which is a special administrative region, counts its COVID-19 case numbers differently from the mainland, combining both rapid antigen tests and PCR test results. Hong Kong has refrained so far from a total lockdown. (Image: AP)
Much of the current outbreak across Chinese cities is being driven by the variant commonly known as “stealth omicron," or the B.A.2 lineage of the omicron variant, the infectious disease expert Zhang noted. Early research suggests it spreads faster than the original omicron, which itself spread faster than the original virus and other variants. (Image: AP)
Much of the current outbreak across Chinese cities is being driven by the variant commonly known as “stealth omicron," or the B.A.2 lineage of the omicron variant, the infectious disease expert Zhang noted. Early research suggests it spreads faster than the original omicron, which itself spread faster than the original virus and other variants. (Image: AP)
Associated Press
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