The number of coronavirus infections in China is already higher this year than in the entire previous year. 1,337 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, according to reports from China’s National Health Commission. This brings the total number of cases this year to more than 9,000. In all of 2021, 8,378 cases were reported, according to Reuters news agency figures.
The authorities blame the rapidly increasing number of cases on the most contagious version of omikron, the BA.2 variant. In China, there is now talk of an infection under the radar, because this omikron variant is spreading faster and its tests are not working well. By the way, the sub-alternative is not new: it has been prevalent in the Netherlands since February, RIVM reports.
The vast majority of new infections were recorded in the northeastern Jilin Province. There are 895 people who have contracted the virus. In the city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, 75 new cases were reported.
The city of about 17.5 million people was closed down yesterday. Public transportation has been closed and the city council has called on residents to work from home. In the coming days, residents will be mass tested for the virus.
The largest outbreak of the epidemic since the beginning of the pandemic
In addition, injuries were recorded in Qingdao, as well as on the coast and in northern Xingtai. Figures are limited to mainland China, and Hong Kong is not included. In that city, 32,000 cases have been reported in the past 24 hours.
The number of cases on the mainland has risen steadily since the beginning of this month. And while the total is still well below the numbers in Europe and the United States, it is already the largest outbreak since the start of the Wuhan pandemic in early 2020.
Soon after the disease first broke out in Wuhan, China imposed strict lockdown measures. As a result, the number of infections remained low. The quarantine obligation still applies to anyone who has been in contact with an infected person. This strategy aims to stop the spread of the virus as quickly as possible.
So far, authorities say they want to continue a policy of lockdown, mass testing and quarantine commitments.
samples in the Netherlands
It has been known for some time that omicron sub-variants are prevalent. In the Netherlands, RIVM uses random samples to keep track of available variables. According to the RIVM, the BA.2 variant does not appear to lead to more severe symptoms after infection than the original BA.1.
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