Mainland China reported 1,807 new symptomatic cases of COVID-19 on March 14, the highest daily number reported since the beginning of the pandemic and more than triple the number of reported cases (476) from the day before. Earlier rises in reported cases prompted lockdowns in neighborhoods in Beijing and Shanghai, and the lockdown of the country’s southern business center of Shenzhen. And the situation appears to be even worse in Shenzhen’s neighbor, Hong Kong, with the embattled city reporting over 32,000 new cases on March 13.
While the numbers being reported by China may seem low compared to the 5-digit daily caseloads that have been commonly reported in other regions around the world—Germany reported a record 262,752 new cases on March 11—China has been practicing a “dynamic-clearing” strategy of dealing with community spread of the virus, involving the swift identification and quarantine of every infected individual and their close contacts.
It is also important to bear in mind that the numbers being reported by China only represent symptomatic cases, meaning that the number of true infections is likely to be ten times higher; however, Hong Kong figures appear to include asymptomatic cases.
78 percent of the country’s cases occurred in the northeastern province of Jilin. The surge “showed that some local areas, facing a rapid rise of the epidemic, lacked the capacity to expand medical resources, resulting in limited admission of infections to centralized facilities within a short period of time,” according to a provincial official.
Just north of Hong Kong, the business and tech hub Shenzhen has been locked down, with public transit, public venues and in-restaurant dining closed, and a work-at-home order issued to help stem the spread of the disease. Three rounds of mass COVID-19 testing will be conducted, to track down infections.
Hong Kong itself, besieged in recent weeks by a major resurgence in COVID-19 cases, reported 32,430 new cases and 264 COVID-related deaths on March 13. Approximately 300,000 people are isolated at home in the city of nearly 7.5 million people, leaving authorities struggling to contact everyone affected to check on their condition. The current surge in cases has also overwhelmed health care facilities, causing a shortfall in the number of beds available to accommodate new patients.
“With so many people put under isolation or quarantine, the government has been strengthening our capability to support them. However, we’re still catching up,” explained Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Although the city has seen nearly 700,000 cases and 3,500 deaths over the course of the pandemic, the majority of these have occurred in just the last few weeks as a result of the recent spike in cases.


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