Omicron BA.5.2.1, a new Covid-19 variant, has been found in China's Shanghai, an official told a briefing on Sunday, Reuters reported.
The variant is said to be "very high risk" and was reported in the financial district of Pudong on July 8. According to Zhao Dandan, vice-director of the city's health commission, it was linked to a case from overseas.
"Our city has recently continued to report more locally transmitted positive cases (of COVID-19) and the risk of the epidemic spreading through society remains very high," Zhao of the Shanghai health commission warned.
The health commission further informed that following the outbreak, the residents of the Shanghai district will have to undergo at least two rounds of Covid tests next week between July 12-14 in order to bring a potential new outbreak under control.
Shanghai’s Covid cases continued to rise, prompting authorities to declare more high-risk areas and fueling fears that China’s financial hub may tighten movement restrictions again.
The city reported 59 new local infections for Friday, increasing from Thursday’s 45 and the highest number since late May.
The Omicron BA.5 variant, which is driving a new wave of COVID-19 infections overseas, was first discovered in China on May 13 in a 37-year-old male patient who had flown to Shanghai from Uganda, according to the China Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
China’s Covid Zero policy is being tested again with resurgences in major cities and the arrival of the sub-variant BA.5
Reported symptoms of BA.5 are similar to previous COVID variants: fever, runny nose, coughing, sore throat, headaches, muscle pain and fatigue.
Chinese authorities have termed the COVID resurgence in many cities as complex which has forced China to give up its rights of hosting the AFC football tournament in 2023.
(with agency inputs)