COVID-19: China reports outbreak of new Delta strain ‘sub-lineage AY.4’ cases

Local authorities have imposed restrictions on public gatherings and travelling out of the province to prevent the virus from spreading further

Beijing: China has reported a spike in COVID-19 infections in Zhejiang Province which registered 138 locally-transmitted confirmed cases stated to be that of new Delta strain “sub-lineage AY.4”, prompting authorities to bar millions of people in the eastern province from travelling.

This is the first time China has reported the new strain of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, state-run CGTN-TV reported.

Zhejiang Province has registered 138 locally-transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases and one asymptomatic carrier between December 5-12, amid the latest COVID-19 resurgence, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

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The report from Hangzhou, the provincial headquarters on Sunday said of the 138 in Zhejiang 44 cases were reported in Ningbo, 77 cases in Shaoxing and 17 cases were in the provincial capital of Hangzhou.

The whole-genome sequencing and analysis found that the cases in the three cities were caused by the Delta strain sub-lineage AY.4, which is stated to be more transmissible and carries a higher viral load than the original novel coronavirus, the report quoted an official with the Zhejiang provincial centre for disease control and prevention as saying.

Local authorities have imposed restrictions on public gatherings and travelling out of the province to prevent the virus from spreading further, it said. The province has a 64.6 million population.

A total of 17 new asymptomatic cases were also recorded, and 444 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation.

The Commission on Monday reported 80 cases in the country including 74 in Zhejiang, five in Inner Mongolia, and one in Shaanxi provinces.

The spurt of coronavirus cases came ahead of the February 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics causing anxiety among the officials here.

China which has effectively curbed international travel has been reporting sporadic spurt of cases raising questions of its zero-case policy of coronavirus.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland had reached 99,780 in China since the virus broke out in the central city of Wuhan in 2019 till Sunday.

This included 1,381 patients still receiving treatment, of whom 27 were in severe condition.

A total of 93,763 patients had been discharged from hospitals on the mainland, and 4,636 had died as a result of the virus, it said in its Monday report.

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