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China reports 13,146 COVID cases as outbreak spreads: National Health Commission

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China Sunday reported 13,146 COVID cases, the highest since the peak of the first wave more than two years ago, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spread to more than a dozen provinces.

Health workers wearing personal protective gear walk next to a residential compound during the second stage of a Covid-19 lockdown in Jing’an district in Shanghai on April 1, 2022. AFP

“There were 1,455 patients with symptoms …. 11,691 asymptomatic cases… and no new deaths reported,” the National Health Commission said in a statement.

In China’s financial hub Shanghai, the epicentre of the country’s most severe Covid, outbreak, nearly all of its 25 million residents were under stay-at-home orders on Saturday as officials rushed to curb the spread of the disease.

On Sunday, the city had more than 8,200 local cases — nearly 70 percent of the nationwide total, which is relatively low by global standards but troubling to a country that recorded just double-digit daily cases for much of the last two years.

Shanghai’s restrictions threaten to snarl supply chains, with shipping giant Maersk saying Friday that some depots in the city remained closed and trucking services would likely be hit further due to the lockdown.

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Anger is rising among Shanghai residents over lockdowns that were initially announced as just for four days to mass-test the city, but now appear likely to drag into late next week or longer.

China, the country where the coronavirus was first detected in 2019, is among the last remaining places following a zero-Covid approach to the pandemic.

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