The number of new COVID-19 cases in China more than doubled Tuesday as the nation struggles with its biggest outbreak of the disease since the start of the pandemic two years ago.
The National Health Commission said 3,507 new cases of local transmission had been confirmed over the last 24-hour period, far above the 1,337 reported a day earlier.
The surge in new cases has prompted authorities across northeast China to impose varying degrees of coronavirus restrictions. Officials in Jilin province have barred residents from traveling both within and outside the province, the worst-hit in the region, with 9 million residents in the provincial capital of Changchun under stay-at-home orders.
In the southeastern province of Guangdong, factories in the city of Shenzhen, the center of China’s technology and manufacturing sector, have suspended operations in an attempt to curb the outbreak. Shenzhen, which borders the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong, is home to such major operations as Foxconn, a major supplier of U.S. tech giant Apple, as well as Tencent and Huawei.
Meanwhile, hundreds of international and domestic flights scheduled to arrive in Shanghai are being diverted to other cities as the financial hub struggles with its own outbreak of new COVID-19 cases.
The breakthrough of new COVID-19 cases in China, driven by the highly-transmissible omicron variant, is happening despite Beijing’s official “zero COVID” strategy that aims to completely eliminate coronavirus outbreaks across the mainland.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.