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China virus cases at highest level in nearly two years

China, where the virus first emerged in late 2019, has stuck to a strict policy of targeting zero Covid cases.
A Chinese flag flies outside the east gate of the Old City in Kashgar, Xinjiang. Image used for representational purpose only.(Photo: Bloomberg)
Published on Jan 18, 2022 06:23 AM IST
Agencies | , Beijing

The number of Covid-19 cases in China reached its highest level since March 2020 on Monday, as Beijing races to smother outbreaks just three weeks before hosting the Winter Olympics and ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.

China, where the virus first emerged in late 2019, has stuck to a strict policy of targeting zero Covid cases. But its approach has come under pressure in recent weeks. On Monday there were 223 more cases reported, including another 80 in the virus-hit port city of Tianjin, and nine more - including cases of the highly transmissible Omicron variant - in the southern manufacturing hub of Guangdong.

Another 68 cases were reported across central Henan province, where partial lockdowns and mass testing have been rolled out for millions of residents.Zhuhai, the mainland city bordering the gambling hub of Macau, has told residents to avoid leaving the city after detecting a handful of Omicron cases and started testing the whole city from Monday.

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China on Monday cancelled plans to sell tickets to the public for the Winter Olympics in Beijing, allowing only invitees to view the action as part of strict virus control measures.

Pakistani health authorities on Monday announced the completion of a successful clinical trial of Chinese traditional herbal medicine for treating Covid-19. The Chinese medicine, Jinhua Qinggan Granules manufactured by Juxiechang (Beijing) pharmaceutical, is already being used in treatment of Covid-19 patients in China.

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US joint chiefs chairman General Mark Milley tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and is experiencing very minor symptoms while isolating and working remotely, a spokesman said on Monday.

US Covid adviser Anthony Fauci said it’s too soon to know whether the rapid spread of the Omicron variant will hasten the end of the pandemic.

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