Beijing, Shanghai hit as China’s Covid outbreak picks up steam


China’s two largest cities are seeing cases of Covid-19 pick up once again, as an outbreak in the north spread to six provinces and led to 91 new locally-transmitted infections reported on Friday.

The country’s political and financial hubs of Beijing and Shanghai detected one and two new cases respectively. Inner Mongolia, where the latest flare up is concentrated, reported almost five dozen infections, according to the National Health Commission. 

The findings mean the latest wave, which had been mostly limited to the remote northwestern region, could sweep across the nation and pose another challenge amid falling temperatures. 

China remains one of the only countries sticking to the Covid Zero approach, intent on eliminating the virus in a mission that has grown increasingly difficult, even as the rest of the world grapples with the arrival of the new Omicron variant. 

Shanghai locked down the housing block in Pudong New Area, where the two patients reside, for two weeks, a deputy director of the district said in a news conference late Thursday. The risk level for the residential compound was raised to “mid-level.”

The patient from Beijing’s tech hub in the Haidian district was a close contact of someone infected in Heilongjiang province, which reported 10 new cases on Friday that were traced back to the Inner Mongolia cluster. Municipal governments have initiated mass testing for potential close contacts of the patient and other related people. Bloomberg News

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