While many countries around the globe are in the process of lifting numerous COVID restrictions, China reported 13,000 coronavirus cases on April 3, which is the most since the peak of the first pandemic wave nearly two years ago now. This new COVID outbreak has struck the Chinese city of Shanghai hard, which has quickly turned into the epicentre of the country's worst outbreak.
China's Zero-COVID Strategy Fails
The massively transmissible Omicron COVID variant has spread to over a dozen provinces in China, rattling the country's "zero-Covid" strategy, which had until March had effectively kept the daily caseload below the double or triple digits, reported NDTV.
However, the current coronavirus outbreak is also straining the patience of the Chinese towards harsh restrictions, as the city of Beijing imposes targeted lockdowns, travel curbs, mass tests and few other measures at a time when most of the world has re-opened.
Once more, millions of Chinese residents have once again endured some form of lockdown over the last month, damaging the economy and disrupting work.
The country reported 13,146 cases on Sunday, the National Health Commission (NHS) revealed in a statement, "no new deaths" were reported. This is also the highest infection toll in China since the middle of February 2020.
The streets of Shanghai remained mostly empty on Sunday as a citywide lockdown carried on, with almost 70 per cent of the national infection caseload found from mass testing of its 25 million residents.
However, city officials have also conceded that they are toiling to contain this new outbreak, with thousands now in state quarantine and the capacity of health workers stretched.
Anger is rising among residents over lockdowns that were initially planned to last just for four days but now appear likely to drag on for several more days as fresh rounds of mass testing are carried out.
Shanghai Becomes COVID Epicentre In China
The current restrictions in Shanghai threaten to snarl supply chains, as shipping giant Maersk stated that a few depots in the city stayed closed, and trucking services are also set to be hit further amid the lockdown.
Last week, the World Health Organisation's emergencies director Michael Ryan said it was important for all countries, including China, to have a plan to wind down pandemic restrictions.
However, he had also asserted that China's vast population gives a unique challenge to its health system and authorities will definitely need to "define a strategy that allows them to exit (the pandemic) safely".
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