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Global Times

Omicron infections peak four times higher than other variants, highlights necessity of booster shots, mixed inoculation

Global Times

By Global Times Published: Feb 26, 2022 07:34 PM

The weekly COVID-19 symptomatic infections peaked at 24 million globally, four times higher than other variants, showing extremely high contagiousness, an expert from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday, noting that current vaccines mainly aim to reduce critical patients and deaths to ensure the proper functioning of medical system.

Wang Huaqing, a top immunology expert from the Chinese CDC, said at Saturday's press conference that China has started inoculation of vaccine in different technical routes. Receiving inactivated vaccines from different manufacturers doesn't constitute mixed inoculation.

Since many people have received booster shots of same kind of vaccine, Wang said those people do not need to have mixed inoculation for now.

Authorities revealed on Saturday that 1.23 billion Chinese people have completed their COVID-19 vaccine inoculation and 555 million have received a booster shot as of Friday. About 220 million aged over 60 have received their vaccines.

The mixed inoculation plan was announced on February 19 against the backdrop of Omicron increasingly becoming the dominant variant in China. Its fast spread with hidden transmission routes has posed growing risks to both imported and domestic outbreaks.

Multiple cities in South China's Guangdong Province, including Shenzhen that border Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, have seen complicated flare-ups related to the Omicron variant.

The SAR is fighting a hard battle against this variant with the assistance from mainland. Eight makeshift hospitals are being built with mainland aid and experts from the National Health Commission are have close contact and exchanges on treatment with Hong Kong local experts, Wu Liangyou, an NHC official, said at the press conference.

Two mainland working teams have arrived in Hong Kong to help with local epidemic control, and they have video meetings everyday with experts back in mainland to offer advice addressing the situation in Hong Kong, Wu said.

Hong Kong reported a record 17,063 infections on Saturday and 66 deaths in 24 hours, bringing death toll in the fifth wave of epidemic to 402. The previous day, Hong Kong registered daily new cases over 10,000 for the first time.

Ho Pak-leung, an infectious diseases expert from the University of Hong Kong, told media that he estimated that about 200,000 Hong Kong residents probably had been infected over the past four weeks. And that cases that had been discovered and reported only accounted for a third of estimated totals.

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