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China daily local Covid cases hit two-year high

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China has posted a steep jump in daily Covid-19 infections with new cases more than doubling from a day earlier to a two-year high as a virus outbreak expanded rapidly in the north-east.

A total of 3,507 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms were reported on Monday across more than a dozen provinces and municipalities, the National Health Commission said, up from 1,337 a day earlier.

Since the coronavirus first emerged in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, China had successfully suppressed large-scale outbreaks through its strict “zero-Covid” strategy, which involved hard lockdowns that confined huge sections of the population to their homes.

While the country’s case load is still tiny by global standards, health experts said the rate of increase in daily cases over the next few weeks would be a crucial factor in determining whether its tough containment approach was still effective against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

A Covid-19 forecasting system run by Lanzhou University in China’s nort-west predicted that the current round of infections would eventually be brought under control in early April after an accumulated total of about 35,000 cases.

The university said in its latest assessment published on Monday that while the outbreak was the most serious on the mainland since Wuhan in 2020, China could bring it under control as long as stringent curbs remained in place.

At least 11 cities and counties nationwide have been locked down because of the latest surge, including the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, home to 17 million people.

In the financial hub of Shanghai, authorities battling an outbreak across the city were cordoning off individual apartment buildings and testing all residents. (Foreign Agencies)

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 – 12:28

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