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China posts 6-month highest COVID count as it sticks with strategy – WorldLNU News

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LNU News

BEIJING: China on Sunday reported its highest number of new COVID-19 infections in six months, a day after health officials said they were sticking with tight coronavirus restrictions, likely disappointing investors’ recent hopes for easing.

China recorded 4,420 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections on Saturday, the National Health Commission said, the most since May 6 and compared up from 3,659 new local cases the day before.

While the number of cases is very low by global standards, China has been stuck with a zero-COVID approach for nearly three years in a pandemic involving lockdowns, quarantines, frequent testing and a drastic drop in inbound travel.

At a press conference on Saturday, health officials reaffirmed their commitment to a “dynamic cleanup” approach to COVID cases as soon as they emerge.

China’s anti-COVID measures are “completely correct, as well as the most economical and effective”, said disease control official Hu Xiang. “We must adhere to the principle of putting people and lives first, and the broader strategy to prevent external imports and internal rebound.”

Chinese stocks surged last week amid rumors of a possible easing of COVID restrictions, and media reports that some policy adjustments are coming soon.

However, many analysts say they don’t expect significant easing to begin until after China’s annual parliamentary session in March.

China doubles zero-Covid after reopening rumors boost markets

Goldman Sachs analysts said Saturday’s announcement showed “the government still needs to maintain a zero-COVID policy until all preparations are complete. This may take several months, in our view,” they wrote, saying their “basic” hope is for a reopening. in the April-June quarter.

The southern city of Guangzhou continued to report an increase in infections, with 66 new locally transmitted cases and 1,259 asymptomatic cases, compared with 111 symptomatic and 635 asymptomatic cases the day before, authorities in the city of nearly 19 million people said.

China’s capital, Beijing, reported 43 symptomatic cases and six asymptomatic cases, compared with 37 symptomatic cases and five asymptomatic cases the previous day.

However, the annual Beijing marathon took place on Sunday morning under strict COVID protocols, having been canceled two years earlier.

About 26,000 attendees registered for the event which kicked off under foggy skies at Tiananmen Square in central Beijing. Runners are required to take a PCR test for three days leading up to the race and not leave Beijing for seven days.

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