China Starts New Year With Biggest Ever Covid Tally

China welcomed the year 2022 with the worst tally of COVID-19 cases for any seven-day period since subduing the country’s first epidemic nearly two years ago.

The National Health Commission reported on Saturday 175 new community infections with confirmed clinical symptoms for December 31, bringing the total number of local symptomatic cases in mainland China in the past week to 1,151, reported Al Jazeera.
Despite an arsenal of some of the world’s toughest COVID-19 measures, a coronavirus surge was witnessed in Xi’an, a city of 13 million, reported Al Jazeera.

The city, under lockdown for 10 days as of Saturday, has reported 1,451 local symptomatic cases since December 9, the highest tally for any Chinese city in 2021.

The state-backed publication, China Daily, said that the capital of Shaanxi province, “is still facing a tough battle” against the outbreak and that there is no “turning point” yet in containing the spread of the virus, reported Al Jazeera.

Moreover, the outbreak in Xi’an is a major flare-up for China as in 2022 Beijing will be hosting the Winter Olympic Games in February, and the ruling Communist Party will hold a once every five years’ Congress, expected in the autumn, where President Xi Jinping will likely secure a third term as party secretary.

The emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant will also drive Beijing to get outbreaks under control resulting in tougher restrictions.

China’s tough epidemic policies have helped stop its sprawling industrial sector from sliding into prolonged shutdowns, reaping important export gains as other pillars of growth weakened.

But unpredictable disruptions have shaken consumer sentiment and hammered the catering, hospitality and tourism sectors, reported Al Jazeera. (ANI)

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