China on Wednesday reported over 100 COVID-19 cases, including nine in Beijing, which has already imposed several curbs restricting the travel of the city residents to other parts of the country amid the new spike in infections.
China’s National Health Commission said on Wednesday that 93 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and 16 new imported cases were reported on Tuesday, the highest in a single day in recent weeks.
Of the new local cases, 35 were reported in the province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia, 14 in Hebei, another 14 in Gansu, nine in Beijing, six in Inner Mongolia, four each in Chongqing and Qinghai, two each in Jiangxi, Yunnan and Ningxia, and one in Sichuan, the Commission said.
Tuesday also saw 16 new imported cases, including three previously reported asymptomatic carriers, it said.
One new suspected case arriving from outside the mainland was reported in Shanghai and no new deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday, the Commission said.
Since the coronavirus first surfaced in Wuhan in December 2019, China has so far officially reported 97,423 as of Tuesday of which 4,636 had died as a result of the virus. As of Tuesday, 1,000 patients are still receiving treatment. Among them, 37 were in severe condition, the Commission report said.
China, which has been pursuing a Zero COVID policy, continues to experience periodic outbreaks of the virus in different places despite vaccinating over 76 per cent of its population.
China’s top respiratory diseases expert Zhong Nanshan has fended off criticism against the Zero-COVOD strategy saying it was still less costly than living with the virus and reintroducing restrictions each time outbreaks occurred.
The country had no option but to aim for zero infections because the coronavirus was replicating quickly and the global death rate of about 2 per cent was unacceptable, Zhong told state-run CGTN-TV on Monday.
“Some countries have decided to open up entirely despite still having a few infections,” Zhong said.
“That led to a large number of infections in the past two months and they decided to re-impose restrictions. This flip-flopping approach is actually more costly. The psychological impact on citizens and society is greater,” he said.
Backing the COVID Zero policy, an article in Global Times said “if we change course to the European and US way of “coexistence with the virus,” China will fall victim to the virus within just a few months, with tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of cases a day”.
“The daily death toll could mount to hundreds or even thousands of people. The situation is definitely not something most Chinese are willing to bear”, it said.
“Every time an outbreak occurs, the implementation of the zero-COVID policy will mean economic and social costs. But if we don’t adopt this policy, it will lead to a serious spread of the virus, and the cost will only be higher”, it said.