KOMPAS.com - China is facing its biggest outbreak of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic after its new daily cases more than doubled in a day.
The National Health Commission said 3,507 new local cases had been identified in the latest 24-hour period, up from 1,337 a day earlier.
Most of the new cases were in northeast China’s Jilin province, where 2,601 were reported.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 1,768.
No new deaths have been reported in the multiple outbreaks across China.
A fast-spreading variant known as “stealth omicron” is testing China’s zero-tolerance strategy — a policy that has kept the virus at bay since the deadly initial outbreak in the city of Wuhan in early 2020.
While the numbers are low compared to elsewhere in the world, the more than 10,000 cases China recorded in the first two weeks of March far exceed previous outbreaks.
Health experts said the rate of increase in daily cases over the next few weeks would be a crucial factor in determining whether its past management of Covid-19 was effective with more transmissible strains.
A Covid-19 forecasting system run by Lanzhou University in China’s northwest predicted that the latest outbreak would eventually be brought under control in early April.
The university estimates the current outbreak will see a total of about 35,000 cases.
In its latest assessment published on Monday, the university said while the current outbreak was the most serious on the mainland since Wuhan in 2020, China was capable of bringing it under control — as long as stringent curbs remained in place.
As of March 14, mainland China had reported 120,504 cases with confirmed symptoms, including both local ones and those arriving from outside the mainland.
Travel ban reinstated as provinces placed into lockdown
In the northeastern province of Jilin, where nearly 90 percent of the confirmed symptomatic cases were found, its population of 24.1 million have been banned from leaving the province and traveling within it without first notifying local police.
Also read: WHO Concerned About Drop in Covid-19 Testing
In a local Communist Party authority-backed paper, the Party’s provincial head said officials in Jilin should prepare more temporary hospitals and use venues to ensure all cases and their close contacts are isolated to prevent further transmission.