China records more local Covid-19 cases this year than in whole of 2021

epa09823649 A health worker in protective gear stands guard at the entrance to a residential compound currently under Covid-19 quarantine in Shanghai, China, 14 March 2022. The National Health Commission on 14 March reported over 1,300 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. According to the Shanghai Education Commission, all local elementary schools and high schools moved to online teaching while kindergartens and nursery schools have been closed since 11 March. EPA-EFE/ALEX PLAVEVSKI

BEIJING, March 14 (Reuters) - China has reported more local symptomatic Covid-19 cases so far this year than it recorded in all of 2021, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant triggers outbreaks from Shanghai to Shenzhen.

Mainland China reported 1,337 new domestically transmitted COVID cases with confirmed symptoms on March 13, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Monday. That brought the total this year to more than 9,000, compared with 8,378 in 2021, according to Reuters calculations.

In the past week, new COVID cases have been reported in Beijing and the financial hub of Shanghai – China’s most populous cities – as well as in the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong and Zhejiang along the coast.

“China’s economy could be severely hit again,” said Nomura in a note, adding that the COVID situation in China had deteriorated at an “alarming” pace over the past week.

“The outbreak has now reached almost every part of China with significant economic importance,” Nomura said.

While the number of infections is small compared with caseloads elsewhere in the world, the rapid rate of increase has activated China’s dynamic zero COVID policy, which mandates that infections are quickly identified and stamped out.

Officials in Shenzhen, China’s Silicon Valley, have temporarily suspended public transport and urged people to work from home as they carry out city-wide testing this week following the surge in new cases.

Apple AAPL.O suppliers Foxconn 2317.TW and Unimicron Technology Corp 3037.TW both suspended operations in the southern city on Monday. Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, said operations would be suspended until further notice, adding it would deploy backup plants to reduce the disruption to production.

In the northeastern city of Changchun, currently under lockdown, Toyota 7203.T suspended production at its joint venture with China’s FAW Group.

Including cases arriving from outside the mainland, China reported 1,437 new confirmed COVID cases on March 13, the NHC said, compared with 1,938 a day earlier.

There were 906 new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, compared with 1,455 a day earlier.

There were no new deaths, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636.

As of March 13, mainland China had reported 116,902 cases with confirmed symptoms, including both local and imported ones.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh, Ryan Woo, Roxanne Liu and Albee Zhang; Editing by Jane Wardell, Edmund Blair and Tom Hogue)


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