The coronavirus appears to have found a way around the zero-tolerance approach to the virus put in place by Chinese authorities.

China recorded 3,393 cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, according to official data, a record since the start of the epidemic in 2020.

Due to a spike in cases across the country, authorities have closed schools in Shanghai and locked down several northeastern cities, while more than ten provinces are racing to contain local outbreaks.

Sanctions against local officials

Residents of the major city of Jilin, which has reported more than 500 cases of the Omicron variant, had completed their six rounds of mandatory screening tests by Sunday, according to local authorities.

On Saturday, several hundred neighborhoods in the city were confined.

Changchun, a neighboring city and industrial base of 9 million inhabitants, was put under a bell on Friday.

Jilin's mayor and Changchun's health official were removed from their posts on Saturday, state media reported.

These figures "show that the spread of Omicron is (…) highly contagious, rapid and difficult to detect in the early stages" of transmission, said Zhang Yan, health official for Jilin province.

“It also reflects the rapid rise (…) of the virus in the different regions and the lack of (…) medical resources”, causing delays in hospital admissions and treatment of patients.

The spike comes as cases spiral out of control in southern China's Hong Kong territory, where tens of thousands of cases are being seen every day and hospitals are overflowing with patients.

China's borders also remain virtually closed.

The country, where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019, responds to outbreaks with local lockdowns, mass screening, and population control through mobile apps. tracing.

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