Public health experts have warned that it is too early to be optimistic that the latest Covid-19 waves in China may have revealed more contagious but less deadly strains of the coronavirus.

The infection count in the current outbreak hit a new high of 40,052 on Monday, just days after China relaxed some zero-Covid measures, while 36,304 are yet to show symptoms. As of Monday, 104 cases had been identified as "severe", with seven deaths recorded so far. All the patients who died were above 80 years of age and had comorbidities.

According to one epidemiologist, the waves threaten to overwhelm the health system and if China is to change its response, it should invest fewer resources in mass testing and more in vaccination and public education.

COVID-19 infections have been on the rise across China since early October, believed to be driven by a new subvariant of the highly contagious but less lethal Omicron strain.

Total infections in China have passed the peak thanks to a massive spring outbreak in Shanghai, driven by the Omicron variant and prompting months of lockdown.


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