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China is facing its biggest COVID-19 outbreak since 2020

The novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout China in massive waves

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A volunteer in the Yanqing district of Beijing.

A volunteer wearing a partially frost-covered face shield and a mask to help protect from the coronavirus stands on duty at an interchange bus stand during the 2022 Winter Paralympics, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing.

Andy Wong, Associated Press

China is currently battling its biggest COVID-19 wave since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, signaling that the coronavirus outbreak is far from over.

The news: China reported 1,100 new COVID-19 cases Thursday. That’s a higher case number in China, which has focused on limiting the spread of the coronavirus, CNN reports.

Why it matters: China has been focused on a “zero COVID” policy since the pandemic began.

  • The country has worked hard to implement lockdowns, restrictions and containment measures to keep the virus from spreading rapidly as it has done across the world, according to Nature.
  • China has implemented “strict social distancing, mass testing, lockdowns and largely closed borders” which “have been effective at preventing the coronavirus from overwhelming the hospital system,” The Washington Post reports.

Flashback: Hong Kong recently had the highest COVID-19 death rate in the developed world, too, despite holding a zero-COVID strategy, as I reported for the Deseret News.

What’s next:  Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, wrote on the Chinese social media app Weibo that China is unlikely to change the zero-COVID strategy now because there’s a surge of cases and new variants could emerge, per CNN.

  • “There is no need to open the door at the peak of the global epidemic,” Zeng said.