BEIJING, China – China posted a steep jump in daily COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, March 15, with new cases more than doubling from a day earlier to a two-year high as a virus outbreak expanded rapidly in the country’s northeast.
A total of 3,507 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms were reported on Monday across more than a dozen provinces and municipalities, the National Health Commission said, up from 1,337 a day earlier.
China’s case load is still tiny by global standards, but health experts said the rate of increase in daily cases over the next few weeks will be a crucial factor in determining whether its tough “dynamic clearance” approach – which aims to contain each outbreak – is still effective against the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
A COVID-19 forecasting system run by Lanzhou University in China’s northwest predicted that the current round of infections would eventually be brought under control in early April after an accumulated total of around 35,000 cases.
The university said in its latest assessment published on Monday that 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.
Nearly 90% of the confirmed symptomatic cases were found in the northeastern province of Jilin, which has banned its 24.1 million population from traveling in and out of the province and across different areas within the province without notifying local police.
Jilin officials should step up the preparation of temporary hospitals and designated hospitals and make use of idle venues to ensure all infections and their close contacts are isolated, a local Communist Party authority-backed paper said, citing the provincial head of the Party.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 1,768 compared with 906 a day earlier.
There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636.
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. – Rappler.com