Chinese city of Qingdao reports Omicron outbreak among students

Medical workers inoculate students with the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a university in Qingdao, Shandong province, China March 30, 2021. China Daily via REUTERS

BEIJING, March 6 (Reuters) - The Chinese port city of Qingdao reported 88 new coronavirus cases for March 5, all of them of the Omicron variant, fuelling China's highest number of daily locally transmitted cases so far this year.

China recorded 329 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Saturday, 175 of them locally transmitted, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Sunday, compared with 102 local cases a day earlier.

The Qingdao outbreak was mainly among middle school students in Laixi county, the Qingdao Municipal Health Commission said.

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Laixi county will implement a second round of mass testing on March 7, a Qingdao official said at a news conference on Sunday, adding that there was no major risk of further outbreak.

China's "dynamic clearance" approach to COVID-19 aims shut off transmission routes as soon as new cases are detected.

The Qingdao outbreak helped send China's total local confirmed case count to its highest since Dec. 31, with other cases reported mainly in Jilin, Guangdong and Hebei provinces, according to the NHC.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 209, compared with 166 a day earlier.

As of March 5, mainland China had confirmed 110,868 COVID-19 cases and 4,636 fatalities.

The Qingdao health authority also reported 27 new cases for Sunday as of 0600 GMT, all among people already under quarantine in Laixi county. China's total Sunday figures will be released on March 7.

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Reporting by Min Zhang and Tony Munroe; Editing by David Gregorio and Christopher Cushing

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