BEIJING: China on Sunday released its highest level of new COVID-19 cases in six months. This comes just a morning after officials from the health department declared they were sticking to the strictest coronavirus restrictions, defying recent expectations of ease.
China reported 4,610 new COVID-19-related infections on Saturday and 588 of them were symptoms-free and 4,022 were not according to the National Health Commission said, the highest since May 6 and when compared with 3,837 cases that were reported a day prior in which 657 cases were manifestly symptomatic.
While the numbers of cases are minimal by international norms, China has stuck with the zero-COVID policy for almost 3 years after the pandemic. This is characterized by lockdowns, quarantines frequent testing and a significant reduction in travel inbound.
In a press conference on Saturday health officials confirmed their commitment to the “dynamic-clearing” method for COVID-19-related cases as soon as they are discovered.
Chinese stocks surged this week due to reports of an easing of COVID-19 curbs and reports from the media suggesting that adjustments to the policy might be on the way.
However, several analysts have indicated that they don’t expect any substantial easing to occur until after China’s annual session of the parliamentary in March.
Goldman Sachs analysts said Saturday’s announcement demonstrated “the government must continue to implement its zero-COVID-19 rule until all preparations are completed. This could take a few months, but we believe,” they wrote, noting that their “baseline” expectations were for opening again during the April-June period.
The city in the south of Guangzhou reported a rise in cases of infections, including 66 locally transmitted symptomatic cases, compared to 635 asymptomatic and 111 symptomatic cases in the preceding day officials in the city of more than 19 million inhabitants said.
Beijing, China’s capital Beijing has reported 43 symptomatic and six asymptomatic cases. This compares with the 37 symptomatic and five cases that were asymptomatic the previous day.