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China reports record number of fresh COVID-19 cases

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A health worker waits for residents to be screened for the coronavirus at a makeshift testing station outside a building placed under lockdown at the Kwai Chung Estate public housing complex in Hong Kong on January 22, 2022, amid a rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Omicron variant. (Photo by AFP)

China has reported a record number of COVID cases after a temporary stop to the spreading of the highly infectious disease.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that 13,146 cases were recorded on Sunday, adding that there had been "no new deaths" reported.

This is the highest number of cases since the peak of the first pandemic wave over two years ago in Wuhan.

The recent Omicron surge in China began weeks ago in Hong Kong, claiming a high toll of unvaccinated elderly people before spreading into mainland China.

In mainland China, the major city of Shanghai is now the epicenter of the fresh outbreak of COVID.

The streets of Shanghai were quiet on Sunday as the city was placed in complete lockdown.

However, the highly transmissible Omicron variant has already spread to more than a dozen other provinces on mainland China.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) emergencies director Michael Ryan said that all countries, including China, needed to devise an exit plan to wind down pandemic restrictions.

He warned however that lifting the restrictions must not be done hastily.

Ryan acknowledged that China's vast population provided Beijing with a unique challenge to its health system.

He insisted that it was important for Chinese health and safety authorities to "define a strategy that allows them to exit (the pandemic) safely".

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