China reported about 3,400 Covid-19 cases per day on Sunday, doubling the previous day and blocking the virus hotspot to combat the largest outbreak in two years.
Due to the surge in national incidents, authorities closed schools in Shanghai and blocked several cities in the northeast. This is because nearly 19 states fight clusters of Omicron and Delta variants.
Officials announced on Sunday that Jilin City was partially closed and hundreds of neighborhoods were closed, but Yanji, an urban area of about 700,000 bordering North Korea, was completely closed. I did.
China, where the virus was first detected in late 2019, maintains a strict zero-corona policy enforced by rapid blockades in the event of cluster emergence, travel bans, and mass testing.
However, the latest relapses caused by the proliferation of highly contagious variants of Omicron and asymptomatic cases challenge that approach.
Zhang Yan, an employee of the Jilin Health Commission, admitted on Sunday that local governments had been lacking in virus response.
“The emergency response mechanism in some areas was not robust enough, the understanding of the characteristics of the Omicron variants was inadequate, and the judgment was inaccurate,” he said at a government press conference.
Residents of Jilin City have completed six rounds of mass testing, local officials said. On Sunday, the city reported more than 500 cases of Omicron mutants.
The neighboring city of Changchun (an industrial base of 9 million people) was closed on Friday.
According to official announcements, the small cities of Siping and Dunhua in Jilin Province were closed on Thursday and Friday.
The mayor of Jilin Province and the head of the Changchun Health Commission were dismissed from their jobs on Saturday, state media reported.
However, China has seen fatigue from a rigorous approach, authorities are increasingly calling for more flexible and more targeted measures to contain the virus, and economists warn that strict crackdowns are damaging the economy. ing.
Due to the increase in incidents since late February, the response in different parts of the country is generally milder and more targeted than in December, when Xi’An and its 13 million people were detained for two weeks. I am.
In Shanghai, China’s largest city, authorities are stepping up the temporary closure of individual schools, businesses, restaurants and malls because of fears of close ties rather than mass quarantine.
Long lines are seen outside the city’s hospitals as people are in a hurry to test negative for Covid.
As the number of cases increased, the National Health Commission announced on Friday that it would introduce the use of rapid antigen testing.
According to the Health Commission, kits will be available online or at pharmacies for clinics and the general public for “self-diagnosis.”
Nucleic acid testing remains the primary testing method, but the move suggests that China may expect that official efforts will not be able to contain the virus.
Last week, top Chinese scientists said the country should aim for coexistence with the virus, as do other countries where Omicron has spread like wildfires.
However, the government has also revealed that mass blockades remain an option.
China’s deputy prime minister, Sun Chunlan, frequently telegraphed top-level ideas about responding to a pandemic, urging the region to quickly attack the area on Saturday and eliminate the outbreak.