China COVID News: China’s health authorities have put the whole country into an alert state and has begun mass testing and retesting all over in Beijing, Shanghai and elsewhere after it was discovered that some of the current RT-PCR test platforms were not able to detect certain new SARS-CoV-2 variants that have emerged in the country and are spreading fast!
In the last 48 hours, changes were made to the current test platforms to accommodate the detection of these new SARS-CoV-2 variants which scientists in Shanghai are claiming to belong to three different groups ie one new highly divergent BA.2 sub-variant, the second a new third generation Lambda sub-variant and the third is a new reassortant strain of which details are not known at this moment. The Chinese scientists have not uploaded the genomic sequences of these new variants in any of the global sharing platforms to date nor are they willing to share more details at the moment.
Chinese authorities are warning that these new variants are expected to cause explosive surges in the next few weeks and are planning massive stringent measures across the country.
Already massive testing and retesting has begun in Shanghai and Beijing with certain localities in Shanghai literally being shut down again!
China COVID News outlets reported that China's capital Beijing is experiencing an "explosive" COVID-19 outbreak connected to a bar, a government spokesman said on Saturday, as the commercial hub, Shanghai, conducted mass testing to contain a jump in cases tied to a hair salon.
In both outbreaks, new SARS-CoV-2 variants that were not detectable by earlier test platforms were responsible.
A new tightening of COVID curbs in Beijing begun since Thursday, with at least two districts closing some entertainment venues after a flare-up in a neighbourhood full of nightlife, shopping and embassies.
Health authorities in Beijing said on Saturday that all 61 new cases uncovered in the city on Friday had either visited the Bar or had links to it.
Xu Hejian, spokesperson of the Beijing municipal government, told a news briefing, "The recent outbreak ... is strongly explosive in nature and widespread in scope with new SARS-CoV-2 variants previously undetectable being responsible."
Beijing had registered 46 new local cases on Saturday as of 3 p.m., all people already in isolation or under observation, health official Liu Xiaofeng said.
Beijing authorities did not initially announce new curbs at the briefing, but later the Beijing sports administration said all off-campus and "offline" sports activities for teens would be canceled from Sunday.
To date, 115 cases and 6,158 close contacts linked to the bar have been reported, throwing the city of 22 million back into a state of anxiety.
The capital had only relaxed curbs less than two weeks ago that had been imposed to fight a major outbreak that began in April.
A the me park on the city's outskirts - The sprawling Universal Beijing Resort, on Friday rescinded a plan to reopen. City authorities said three of its workers had visited the Heaven Supermarket bar.
Numerous neighborhoods in the capital have been put under lockdown, with residents told to stay home.
Meanwhile in Shanghai, officials announced three new confirmed local cases and one asymptomatic case detected outside quarantined areas on Saturday, as nearly all the city's 25 million residents began a new round of COVID tests.
Health authorities ordered new PCR testing for all residents in 15 of Shanghai's 16 districts this weekend, and five districts barred residents from leaving home during the testing period. A city official said residents should complete at least one PCR test a week until July 31.
Shanghai had only lifted a grueling two-month COVID-19 lockdown on June 1.
Many locals are worried that it will only be a matter of time before the whole of Shanghai goes into a lockdown again and have already rushed to stock up on food and essentials, leaving many supermarkets empty again.
Government authorities said they had also reprimanded and dismissed several district-level officials in Shanghai for lapses at a hotel that was used to quarantine arrivals from overseas, pinpointed as one of the sources of Shanghai's wave of the new Omicron variant. (A new highly divergent BA.2 sub-variant).
The authorities also said they had warned or dismissed some executives at a state-owned firm that owned the Red Rose beauty salon, where three cases were found among workers this week. It was reported that the salon's employees had not followed guidelines to undertake PCR testing daily.
Shanghai on Saturday reported seven new local symptomatic cases for the previous day, a rise of one, of which six were detected outside of quarantined areas.
The city also recorded nine new local asymptomatic cases, up from six the previous day.
The National Health Commission of China reported a total of 210 new coronavirus cases for June 10, of which 79 were symptomatic and 131 were asymptomatic. That was up from 151 new cases a day earlier, 45 of them symptomatic and 106 asymptomatic. As of Friday, mainland China had confirmed 224,659 cases with symptoms.
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