China reports over 3,300 Covid infections as outbreak worsens

China reported more than 3,300 Covid-19 infections on Saturday as the country faces its worst outbreak since the early days of the pandemic and officials step up efforts to stem the spread.

There were 1,807 confirmed local infections and 1,315 asymptomatic local cases, the National Health Commission said on Sunday. The northeastern province of Jilin accounted for more than 2,100 cases.

The country also reported more than 200 imported cases.

China is grappling with new domestic infections that are jumping at a rate not seen since the peak of the outbreak in Wuhan, the virus’s first epicenter. Vice Premier Sun Chunlan on Saturday vowed to take stringent measures to stem regional clusters and urged officials to roll out rapid antigen tests on top of nucleic acid testing to keep up with Omicron’s spread. The country should “resolutely hold the bottom line of avoiding resurgence of scale,” she said.

China last week approved five rapid Covid antigen tests developed by domestic companies. Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech Co., one of the firms that got the clearance, has signed a deal to sell its kits through DaShenLin Pharmaceutical Group Co.’s outlets and online platform, according to a report by, which is affiliated to Shanghai United Media Group.

Regional governments are stepping up efforts to contain the spread of the virus in their areas. Shanghai has required people to provide negative nucleic acid test results within last 48 hours if they want to leave or enter the city, according to a statement released by the municipal government late Saturday.

Guangdong province in the south removed six officials from their posts, including a deputy chief of the provincial public security department, for a cluster outbreak in Dongguan city on March 1, the Beijing Daily reported.

In another development, China has asked residents in the technology hub of Shenzhen to work from home and has closed non-essential venues in a southern Chinese city as the country braces for a nationwide Covid-19 resurgence last seen in the early days of the pandemic.

Daily locally transmitted Covid infections in China have ballooned to more than 1,500 from a little over 300 in less than a week and authorities have tightened restrictions in some megacities to tame omicron’s unfettered spread.

The country on Saturday reported 1,524 infections, with more than two thirds of them asymptomatic. Despite the rising caseload, only six Covid patients are severely ill and China hasn’t reported a single Covid-related death for more than a year.

The growing clusters spawned by the highly infectious Omicron variant in China’s most developed large cities and economic powerhouses have turned into an unprecedented challenge for the country’s Covid Zero strategy, a policy abandoned by the rest of the world. Officials have largely resisted tactics such as lockdowns and mass testing and relied mostly on targeted responses, only to see Omicron continues to spread.

Shenzhen has asked its almost 18 million residents to stay home next week, while dining in at restaurants has been banned and non-essential venues such as bars and cinemas are closed, state media reported Saturday. Five of the city’s 10 districts will also conduct daily mass testing for four consecutive days, according to local media.

The city, which neighbors Hong Kong, has been battling a growing Omicron outbreak that has led to lockdowns of residential compounds and office buildings. Shenzhen is also under pressure to stave off infections from seeping in through Hong Kong, which has seen daily cases rise to tens of thousands.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Disneyland said it will operate at controlled capacity and will require visitors to present negative Covid test results from within 24 hours of entering the amusement park. China’s financial hub is also battling a rising number of omicron infections that have prompted school closures for students from kindergarten through middle school next week.

Later on Saturday, Chinese capital Beijing also reported three infections among people traveling back from other parts of the country. Down in southern China, Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong Province locked down tens of thousands at a convention center on Friday afternoon to conduct mass testing after learning an infected person may have entered the premises. No one has tested positive so far.

Omicron has also spread in the eastern province of Shandong, which reported almost 600 infections on Saturday. In northeastern Jilin province, which borders Russia and North Korea, authorities have locked down the provincial capital Changchun and removed the mayor of nearby city Jilin for failing to control the local outbreak that is now among the country’s worst and fastest growing.


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