A COVID-19 instance containing the new subvariant Omicron BA.5.2.1 was found in the city of Shanghai, an official revealed during a briefing on Sunday, highlighting the challenges China confronts in keeping up with new mutations as it pursues its ‘zero-COVID’ policy.
Zhao Dandan, vice-director of the city’s health commission, claimed that the case, which was discovered in Pudong’s business area on July 8, was connected to a case from abroad.
At the beginning of June, Shanghai, in eastern China, ended a lockdown that had lasted almost two months, but it has since continued to apply strict regulations, locking down buildings and compounds as soon as new possible transmission chains appear.
According to Zhao of the Shanghai health commission, ‘Our city has recently continued to record more locally transmitted positive cases (of COVID-19), and the risk of the epidemic spreading across society remains quite high.’
He declared that two rounds of COVID tests would be administered to citizens in a number of significant Shanghai districts between July 12 and 14, in an effort to contain any potential new outbreaks.
According to the China Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the Omicron BA.5 variant, which is causing a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections abroad, was first identified in China on May 13 in a 37-year-old male patient who had flown from Uganda to Shanghai.
According to Yuan Zhengan, a member of the city’s expert advisory group on COVID prevention, variant BA.5 has been shown to have an accelerated rate of transmission and an improved immune escape capability. She was speaking at the Sunday briefing.
However, she continued, immunisation is still useful in preventing major disease or death brought on by BA.5.