With 5,280 fresh cases, China battles biggest Covid outbreak in 2 yearstext_fields
Beijing: China reported 5,280 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the biggest outbreak since the start of the pandemic two years ago, as per the National Health Commission (NHC)'s latest database.
While not a large number if compared globally, it's a significant tally for Beijing which has kept the numbers low for the most of the last two years through a strict "Zero Covid" strategy that is now being challenged.
The record figure was driven by a surge in nationwide Omicron outbreaks, with over 3,000 domestic transmissions in the northeastern province of Jilin, according to NHC data.
Several cities have gone under lockdown, imposing fresh restrictions.
Before Tuesday, China had seen just two days when Covid cases exceeded 5,000: both during the initial outbreak in Wuhan, central China. Wuhan was the city where Covid-19 was first reported.
The country reported a one-time surge of more than 15,000 cases on February 12, 2020, according to a report by Bloomberg, after health authorities included cases previously unable to be diagnosed amid a shortage of test kits. This was followed by 5,090 cases the next day.
A fast-spreading variant known as "stealth Omicron" is reportedly causing this unprecedented surge in daily Covid cases in China. The 'stealth Omicron' - or the BA.2 sub-variant, is 1.5 times more transmissible than the original Omicron strain, studies suggest.
Officials in Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, have temporarily suspended public transport and urged people to work at home as they carry out city-wide testing this week following a surge in new cases.
Apple suppliers Foxconn and Unimicron Technology Corp both suspended operations in the southern city on Monday. Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, said operations would be suspended until further notice, adding it would deploy backup plants to reduce the disruption to production.