While in France masks are gradually becoming a distant memory, China is once again the epicenter of a wave of Covid-19 contamination. A mutation of the Omicron variant detected in the Shanghai region is believed to be the cause of this epidemic rebound.
It was west of Shanghai, in the city of Suzhou, that this mutation of the Omicron variant was discovered. For the time being, this strain does not appear in any local or international database, “it means that a new variant of Omicron has been discovered locally”, said the Suzhou Center for Disease Prevention and Control. “In order to eliminate the risks as soon as possible and to cut the chain of transmission”, the medical institution has announced that it is proceeding for the first time with the sequencing of this new variant. According to the Chinese press, if no information about its contagiousness has been provided, it would be a variation of BA 1.1.
However, this finding needs to be qualified. “Every day new variants appear. It is almost certain that Omicron BA.2 will be replaced by a new sub-variant of Omicron or a new variant of SARS-CoV-2 (…)”, explained to the Express, the French epidemiologist Antoine Flahaut.
A strong epidemic rebound
This new variant appears as China experiences its worst contamination toll since the start of the pandemic two years ago. And for good reason, more than 13,000 cases were identified on April 3 in the country. These are “1,455 patients with symptoms” and “11,691 asymptomatic”, the National Health Commission said in a statement. “No new deaths have been reported,” she said, as the highly contagious Omicron variant spread to more than a dozen provinces.
In addition, almost all of the 25 million inhabitants of Shanghai, the economic capital of China, have been confined since April 2, while several halls in the metropolis have been transformed in recent days into makeshift quarantine centers.
In the northeast of the country, tens of millions of Chinese suffer the same fate, and a new large city, Baicheng (1.5 million inhabitants) has in turn been placed under a bell.