Shanghai confirms first Omicron infections

Yang Jian
Shanghai's new local COVID-19 infections have been confirmed as the highly infectious Omicron variant.
Yang Jian
Shanghai confirms first Omicron infections
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The milk tea store at 228 Yuyuan Road was been elevated to a medium-level risk area on Thursday.

Shanghai's new local COVID-19 infections have been confirmed as the highly infectious Omicron variant.

Shanghai reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and three local asymptomatic cases on Thursday. They are related to an imported asymptomatic COVID-19 case reported in the city on Tuesday.

The genetic sequencing has confirmed the new cases were infected with the Omicron variant, which is more transmissible than the previously dominant Delta variant, according to the National Health Commission.

"The multiple infectors had many social activities, posing high risks of community transmission and wider spread of the virus," He Qinghua, an official with the commission told a press conference on Saturday.

The new local Omicron cases were reported along with several new cases in Zhuhai and Zhongshan in south Guangdong Province. All the new infections have been confirmed as the Omicron variant.

Infections of Omicron have also appeared in north Tianjin, northeast Liaoning and central Henan provinces this year.

"The Omicron variant, which is spreading faster and is more infectious, is rapidly replacing other COVID-19 variants across the world," said Mi Feng, the spokesperson of the commission.

According to the World Health Organization, genetic sequencing has showed some 58.5 percent of the infections across the globe in the last month were caused by the Omicron variant.

Since January, the daily number of new infections reached the record high of 3.5 million around the world, Mi said.

To fight against the new round of the pandemic, a total of 2.9 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given in China as of Friday. Some 1.2 billion people in the country have been fully vaccinated with two shots.

China is facing the double challenges brought about by the Delta and Omicron variants.

As the Spring Festival travel rush is about to begin on Monday, the anti-COVID-19 situation is tough given the increasing movement and gatherings of people.

Some 54,000 related people in Shanghai, including 304 close contacts and 2,830 secondary contacts, have been tracked across the city and undergone quarantine measures. All have tested negative so far.

Most of the close contacts and risky groups are related to the milk tea store at 228 Yuyuan Road in Jing'an District, where the confirmed cases work.

The store named "China Fresh Tea" has become Shanghai's only medium-level risk area. Employees working at other chain stores of the milk tea brand have tested negative.

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