Omicron Effect: China, South Korea Face Worst COVID Outbreak

Beijing/Seoul: As India is heaving a sigh of relief following the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, its Asian counterparts are facing the heat.

While several Chinese cities and provinces have been locked down in recent days following a steep spike in coronavirus cases, South Korea is also facing its worst COVID outbreak.

According to the state media, South Korea reported 4,00,741 new COVID-positive cases on Wednesday, its highest ever.
A day earlier, South Korea endured its deadliest day of the pandemic with 293 deaths being reported in 24 hours, AP reported. Most of these cases were said to be locally transmitted, driven by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus.

The numbers in China are way lesser than South Korea’s, But the 3,290 new COVID-19 cases that China reported on Wednesday, including 11 severe infections, was 10 times more than a week or so ago.

No COVID-related death has been officially reported in over a year in China, where the first coronavirus case surfaced in Wuhan in late 2019. But the country has gone into overdrive to prevent a potential wave of cases.

City-wide lockdowns have been clamped in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Langfang, and partial restrictions are in place in Shanghai and Xian. The entire Jilin province has been shut down as well.

According to a report in Medriva, more than 50 million residents of major cities are under stay-at-home order, while nearly almost 40 million people are under partial lockdown.

Not wanting to be caught unawares, China has decided to free up hospital beds for a surge in patients requiring immediate attention.

With daily activities of so many people restricted, the stock market in China this week has seen some of the largest drops in recent times.

China has already started diverting flights away from Shanghai and shipping vessels have stopped leaving from Shanghai port.

This could have serious worldwide consequences as Shanghai is one of the largest ports in the world.

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