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China Sees Most COVID-19 Cases In 2 Years As Pandemic Reaches New Grim Milestone


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

China COVID.

China’s zero-COVID approach has proved successful in regards to keeping numbers down to manageable levels. Image credit: canghai76/

As the world reaches the grim milestone of 6 million COVID-19 deaths, China reported the highest daily tally of COVID-19 cases in two years, with numbers reaching up to 526 over the past weekend.

The total reported number of COVID-19 deaths reached 6 million on Monday, March 7, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University. This is only a rough estimate as many countries record their COVID-related deaths differently – but many experts believe the actual figure is likely higher than official counts.


Meanwhile, China is seeing some of the highest COVID-19 case numbers since the start of the pandemic. 

China state-affiliated media Global Times reported there were 526 COVID-19 cases documented on Sunday, March 6, with hotspots seen in several port cities like Qingdao and densely populated urban areas like Shanghai.

China has maintained a “zero-COVID” approach to the virus. In essence, this involves measures including strict lockdowns, mass testing, isolating the infected, surveillance, and international travel bans in a push to totally eliminate the virus from the population. Any hint of a possible outbreak is promptly contained and crushed. 

Despite its many criticisms, China’s zero-COVID approach has proved successful in keeping numbers down to manageable levels. Throughout most of the pandemic, China has reported mere dozens of daily COVID-19 cases, while much of the world was dealing with tens of thousands of cases per day.  


In contrast, many countries have recently edged towards a "living with COVID-19 strategy." Instead of broad and heavy-handed lockdowns, the idea is to manage outbreaks more intelligently with digital technology, viral genomic surveillance, and more precise prevention measures.

China has stuck to its guns with its zero-COVID approach – until now. Experts there say the hyper-infectious Omicron variant is testing the limits of the strategy, forcing China to reconsider how it deals with this next stage of the pandemic. 

"The current sporadic outbreaks and concealed infections caused by the Omicron variant are posing more challenges for the zero-COVID strategy," a senior official at China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told the Global Times.

"Thus it is important to stick to precise management of the virus, and reduce the impact of virus prevention measures to a minimum."


Both China's relatively high case numbers and the global COVID-19 death toll of 6 million both show how the pandemic isn’t over yet, despite some impressions that suggest otherwise.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently affirmed that it is far "too early to declare victory" over the COVID-19 pandemic. Many regions are "learning to live" with the virus, but healthcare systems are still being stretched and cases numbers remain high globally. Furthermore, significant parts of the developing world are still struggling to vaccinate their population. The worst may be over, but this virus may still have a few tricks up its sleeve. 

"Many countries are facing high rates of hospitalization and death. With high transmission, the threat of a new, more dangerous variant remains real. We urge all people to exercise caution and all governments to stay the course," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted on Sunday.


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