Outbreaks of the highly transmissible Omicron BA.2 coronavirus subvariant surged across China over the weekend and Chinese authorities have initiated emergency measures to contain the spread of the virus, including mass testing, contact tracing, and lockdowns.

Iran PressAsia: According to the National Health Commission, there were 1,938 new confirmed cases of infection on Saturday across 31 provinces. The vast majority of cases, 1,421, were detected in the northeastern province of Jilin. Media reports indicate that the case count nearly doubled to just under 3,400 on Sunday.

Residents of Jilin City have undergone six rounds of testing, according to local officials. The neighboring city of Changchun, home to 9 million residents and China’s largest automobile producer, has been put into lockdown.

The mayors of both Jilin City and Changchun have been fired in the wake of the virus’ spread, the largest outbreak in China since February 2020.

Lockdowns, including the closure of schools, workplaces, and nonessential businesses, have also been implemented in Shanghai, home to 25 million people and one of the world’s largest ports, where 64 cases were detected in one day.

In Shenzhen, located on China’s border with Hong Kong, its 18 million residents went into lockdown after 60 infections were detected.

The Omicron BA.2 subvariant has also begun surging across Europe. Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have all seen sharp upturns in their daily confirmed COVID-19 case counts, many just weeks after experiencing a surge of the Omicron BA.1 subvariant.

There are currently more than 63,000 daily new cases in France, nearly 68,000 daily new cases in the Netherlands, and at least 186,000 daily new cases in Germany.


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