China Battles Multiple COVID Outbreaks Fueled by ‘Stealth Omicron’ Variant

Covid variant lockdown

New strain challenges country’s zero-tolerance virus strategy as ‘different districts adopt different policies’; Hong Kong leader unsure if public ‘would accept further measures’

China new strain
Workers line up for COVID test outside an office building in Beijing, March 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

China banned most people from leaving a coronavirus-hit northeastern province and mobilized military reservists Monday as the fast-spreading “stealth Omicron” variant fuels the country’s biggest outbreak since the start of the pandemic two years ago.

All 17 million people in the Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen began their first full day under lockdown Monday, as restrictions spread across Shanghai and other major cities to combat an outbreak challenging the nation’s zero-tolerance COVID strategy.

The southern city of Shenzhen imposed the measure on Sunday to counter an Omicron flareup in factories and neighborhoods linked to nearby Hong Kong, which is recording scores of daily deaths as the virus runs rampant.

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