BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Prevention and control measures should be in place earlier and deployed more quickly, and be stricter and more tangible, given that the stealthy Omicron sub-variant spreads quicker, said Chinese experts.
The main culprit behind the ongoing wave of COVID infections in China is the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant, which is more contagious than the Delta variant, said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Omicron BA.1 spreads 77 percent faster than the Delta variant, while BA.2 circulates 66 percent faster than BA.1, Wu noted, citing relevant research results.
Together with the significant coverage of vaccination, with infected people showing few symptoms and spreading the virus unconsciously, this has posed challenges to the anti-epidemic efforts in this wave of infections, said Wu.
Lei Zhenglong, deputy head of the disease control and prevention division of the National Health Commission (NHC), said China has recently been under increasing pressure from inbound cases. Domestically, the country has seen cluster infections in multiple regions spread widely and taking place frequently.
He cited the influence of the fourth wave of global COVID-19 outbreaks, mainly attributed to Omicron, and the stealthy and highly transmissive nature of the variant.
So far, China's dynamic zero-COVID policy and containment measures have proved effective against Omicron, according to the experts.
While the epidemic is evolving in Jilin, Shandong, Shanghai, and Guangdong, it has been put under effective control in Liaoning, Sichuan, Hubei, and Jiangsu, and come almost to an end in Inner Mongolia, said Lei.
Task forces have been sent to provide guidance. Response measures are pressing forward orderly and vigorously, with positive signs in some regions.
Strengthened regular prevention and containment measures remain a priority in these efforts to fight the virus, said Lei.
Ports of entry, border areas, and primary facilities such as schools and nursing homes are the focus.
China has experienced frequent resurgence of COVID-19 since March. There are infections in 28 provincial-level regions.
NHC data show that the Chinese mainland Tuesday reported 1,860 new local cases. There were 13,780 patients under treatment on the day, but the death toll has remained unchanged at 4,636. ■