China reports 1st Omicron case, outbreak of Delta subvariant
The first case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant infection in the mainland was detected in the northern city of Tianjin on Monday night, health authorities said.
The infection was discovered in a traveller who arrived in the city from overseas on December 9, Chinese official media reported, adding that the patient is currently being treated in isolation in a city hospital.
Separately, a sub-strain of the Covid-19 Delta variant has triggered a new cluster of cases in eastern China’s industrial powerhouse province of Zhejiang, causing many of the 190 cases in a week, locking down more than 500,000 residents and shutting down factories.
Several infections diagnosed until Monday afternoon were of the Delta strain sub-lineage AY.4, prompting large-scale travel restrictions in the province, mass nucleic acid tests with more 52,000 people sent to centralised isolation.
Zhejiang reported a total of 192 locally transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms during the December 6-13 period, official numbers showed on Monday, marking the province’s first domestic cluster outbreak this year.
“The whole-genome sequencing and analysis found that the cases in the three cities (Hangzhou, Ningbo and Shaoxing) were caused by the Delta strain sub-lineage AY.4. It is more transmissible and carries a higher viral load than the original novel coronavirus, said an official with the Zhejiang provincial centre for disease control and prevention,” official news agency Xinhua reported.
“Local authorities have imposed restrictions on public gatherings and travelling out of the province to prevent the virus from spreading further,” the report said.
“The province has brought a total of 540,430 people under quarantine control, of which 52,824 were in centralized isolation, 21,835 were under home health observation, and 465,771 were under routine health monitoring,” a state media report said.
More than a dozen Chinese-listed companies said they had suspended production in coronavirus-hit parts of China’s eastern Zhejiang province in response to local government’s tightened Covid-19 curbs, causing their share prices to plunge, Reuters reported on Monday.
China reported 80 new locally-transmitted cases with symptoms on the mainland for December 12, including 74 identified in Zhejiang.
Separately, the city of Manzhouli, located at China-Russia border, in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has reported 537 local cases during the latest resurgence.
Of these, 507 were undergoing treatment, and 25 were discharged from the hospital.
China has reported a total number of 99,681 Covid-19 cases and 4,636 deaths from the infection. The national health commission (NHC) on Monday said that more than 2.61 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the country as of Sunday.