Shanghai, China's financial capital and largest city with 26 million people has gone under lockdown after experiencing an exponential surge in Covid-19 cases. With over 3,500 new infections in the last 24 hours, the Health Department has shown concern since most of these people who have tested positive for COVID are asymptomatic, which means they had no of the infection at all. According to the latest report by the National Health Commission, on Monday, Shanghai reported 1,293 new COVID-19 cases, out of which 1,228 were locally transmitted and 65 were imported infections.
This comes after Shanghai has seen a sudden spike in cases of the COVID virus, forcing the Chinese authorities to redirect some international passenger flights to other cities from March 21 to May 1. Earlier this week, the government also announced that China is considering a phase-wise lockdown for Shanghai. According to the officials, the lockdown that will be conducted in two phases will be China's most extensive since the central city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in late 2019, confined its 11 million people to their homes for 76 days in early 2020. Millions more have been kept in lockdown since then.
China has also imposed various rules to keep the COVID-19 cases away from the country since the deadly initial outbreak in 2020 but the fast-spreading variant known as "stealth omicron" is testing China's zero-COVID policy.
Cases of people with no symptoms of COVID are on the rise in China, there is an increasing tension about a new wave of the pandemic, too. But can an asymptomatic COVID patient transmit the virus? Yes, even asymptomatic people can transmit the COVID virus. According to the experts, these are people who show zero signs or symptoms of the disease on contracting it for the entire duration of the incubation period. This incubation period lasts for about 14-15 days. As a result, these people end up transmitting the virus to a lot of other people who come in contact with them. Asymptomatic COVID patients are the biggest reason behind the massive COVID surge in many countries.
Why China Is Facing a Surge?
The country which saw the first case of the deadly SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19 is now back to fighting the deadly virus outbreak, after keeping it under control for more than a year. The dominant strain in China at the moment is the highly contagious BA.2 Omicron Subvariant. According to the experts, the sudden rise in infections is due to the mass testing that the country is considering right now as the most effective COVID control measure. "The aggressive testing efforts underway will see case numbers continue to rise over the next few days, but that numbers will fall back to zero after that," an expert quoted as saying.
Lessons From Hong Kong
The low vaccination rate among the elderly was the major reason behind the spike in cases in Hong Kong earlier this year. There were close to 900 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents in Hong Kong, the highest level recorded anywhere in the world during the pandemic. Experts say that this has fuelled the spread of the virus.
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China's Current EXIT Strategy
Under the current phase-wise lockdown strategy, residents will be required to stay home and deliveries will be left at checkpoints to ensure there is no contact with the outside world. Offices and all businesses not considered essential will be closed and public transport suspended. China has reported more than 56,000 confirmed cases nationwide this month, with the surge in Jilin accounting for most of them. The new measures being enforced in Shanghai aim to "curb the virus spread, protect people's life and health, and achieve the dynamic zero-COVID target as soon as possible," the city's COVID-19 prevention and control office stated in an announcement Sunday evening.