* The Chinese mainland Sunday reported 1,337 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and 788 local asymptomatic cases.
* The Omicron BA.2 variant has been identified as the culprit of recent COVID-19 resurgences in many places.
* Several cities with infections have launched multiple rounds of mass testing, ordered closed-loop management of communities, and built makeshift hospitals to stem the virus.
BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- China is taking swift and thorough measures to contend with its latest wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, as multiple regions in the country have seen surging infections recently.
The Chinese mainland Sunday reported 1,337 locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and 788 local asymptomatic cases in more than a dozen provincial-level regions, the National Health Commission (NHC) said Monday.
Amid the new spike in COVID-19 cases, several cities with infections have adhered to the dynamic zero-COVID approach through a raft of measures. These include launching multiple rounds of mass testing, ordering closed-loop management of some communities, and suspending traffic and classes to stem the virus.
SWIFT, STRICT ACTIONS
Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan Sunday stressed taking the most thorough epidemic response measures to stem the COVID-19 outbreaks in northeast China's Jilin Province, among the hardest-hit areas as Omicron spreads in the country.
On Sunday, the province registered 895 confirmed domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases and 131 asymptomatic carriers.
A medical worker takes a swab sample from a resident for nucleic acid test at a community in Jilin City, northeast China's Jilin Province, March 12, 2022. (Xinhua/Zhang Nan)
Inspecting a virus-hit middle school and residential community in the province, Sun, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, urged utmost efforts in testing, quarantine, and treatment to stamp out all community infections soonest.
Its capital city Changchun and the second-largest city Jilin have been placed under closed management to contain the spread of the virus, and residents were asked not to leave home unless necessary.
Jilin City has conducted seven rounds of city-wide nucleic acid testing over the past 10 days. Nearly 2,900 people tested positive. No deaths have been reported so far.
While hospital beds are running tight, many cities are building makeshift hospitals to admit and treat as many COVID-19 patients as possible. Changchun is building a makeshift hospital at an exhibition center that can provide more than 1,500 beds. As of Monday, five makeshift hospitals are operational in Jilin City, with over 9,000 beds. The sixth one, with nearly 2,000 beds, is under construction.
Aerial photo taken on March 12, 2022 shows a temporary hospital under construction at a driving school in Jilin City, northeast China's Jilin Province. (Xinhua/Zhang Nan)
In southern China's metropolis Shenzhen, which reported 75 confirmed locally transmitted cases on Sunday, the bus and subway systems were suspended, and businesses, except those providing essential services, have been closed from Monday to March 20.
Employees must work from home if they can, and residents are barred from leaving the city in south China's Guangdong Province.
CHALLENGES AND CONFIDENCE
The Omicron BA.2 variant has been identified as the culprit of recent COVID-19 resurgences in many places.
"The Omicron BA.2 variant was behind the sudden resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Jilin City. It is more contagious and harder to detect and appears to spread more quickly," said Sun Dianwei, head of the center for disease control and prevention in Jilin City.
Sun said that based on the data analysis as of March 11, around 56 percent of those infected in the city showed no symptoms -- making it harder to track down the new cases.
A staff member sprays disinfectant inside a bus in Futian District of Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, March 13, 2022. (Photo by Chu Yan/Xinhua)
"If we do not take swift and resolute prevention and control measures, it will easily lead to a large number of community infections and a surge in cases," said Lin Hancheng, an official with Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission.
Several officials have been held accountable for dereliction of duty in preventing and controlling the latest COVID-19 outbreaks. Jilin City mayor Wang Lu lost his position due to ineffective epidemic prevention and control. Six Guangdong officials were sacked for management loopholes.
As part of the swift COVID-19 responses, China has added antigen detection as an option for COVID-19 testing among the public to boost the early discovery of COVID-19 cases, said the NHC Friday.
The new domestic wave of COVID-19 resurgence is currently at the early stage of rapid growth, Zhang Wenhong, head of the Center for Infectious Diseases with the Shanghai-based Huashan Hospital of Fudan University, said in a blog on China's microblogging platform Weibo.
Hailing China's anti-epidemic endeavor over the past two years, Zhang suggested more efforts in promoting booster vaccinations among the elderly and affordable home detection reagents.
(Video reporters: Si Xiaoshuai, Wang Fan, Shao Meiqi, Ma Xiaocheng, Zhang Nan, Zhao Xiaoyu and Wu Feizuo; Video editors: Jia Xiaotong, Cao Ying and Zhou Sa'ang)■