China on Sunday has reported 13,000 Covid cases.
This is the highest number of cases reported since the peak of the first pandemic wave over two years ago.
According to the National Health Commission’s statement, China recorded 13,146 cases on Sunday, with “no new deaths” reported.
It is the country’s highest daily infection tally since mid-February 2020.
Nearly 70 percent of the national caseload was found in Shanghai, the commission said, after mass testing the metropolis’ 25 million residents.
Chinese health officials said they have found a suspected new subtype of the Omicron variant in the Shanghai area.
The state media reported on Sunday that the officials in Suzhou, a city 30 minutes west of Shanghai, have detected a mutation of the Omicron variant not found in local or international databases.
“This means a new variant of Omicron has been discovered locally,” Xinhua said, citing health official Zhang Jun, deputy director of the Suzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The current outbreak is also testing the patience of the Chinese towards tough restrictions, at a time when much of the world has re-opened.
The coronavirus was first detected in China’s central city of Wuhan in late 2019.
China is among the last remaining places following a zero-Covid approach to the pandemic.
The COVID outbreak in China has taken on an increasingly serious economic dimension, cutting off analysts’ growth projections as factories close and millions of consumers are ordered indoors.
The COVID restrictions in Shanghai threaten to snarl supply chains.
The shipping giant Maersk said that some depots in the city remained closed and trucking services would likely be hit further due to the lockdown.
The World Health Organization’s emergencies director Michael Ryan last week said it was important for all countries, including China, to have a plan to wind down pandemic restrictions.
He also added that China’s vast population provides a unique challenge to its health system and authorities will have to “define a strategy that allows them to exit (the pandemic) safely”