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China's symptomatic COVID cases more than triple 

March 13, 2022

The number of infections in mainland China rose to 1,807, almost tripling over the past 24 hours. The head of a German ICU doctors' group has advised keeping the mask mandate after March 20. DW has the latest:

A mass testing site at Qingdao.  (Xinhua/Li Ziheng)
Authorities have allowed residents to access self-testing kits now. Image: Xinhua/Li Ziheng/picture alliance

The number of symptomatic coronavirus cases in mainland China rose to 1,807, almost tripling from the previous day, and reaching a two-year high. The daily count rose from 476 in the previous 24 hours, including 114 initially classified as asymptomatic, who later developed symptoms.

China's southern city of Shenzhen, home to 17 million people, went into a citywide lockdown, after reporting 66 new cases. The city is home to tech giants like Huawei and Tencent and its central business district was also sealed Sunday.

Health authorities have now allowed the general public to buy rapid self-test kits for the first time to help detect infections quickly. China's zero-COVID policy has drawn questions from experts, especially due to the fast-spreading omicron variant. 

The northeastern province of Jilin reported 1,412 new local symptomatic cases on Saturday, accounting for 78% of the national total and up from 134 a day earlier.

Here are the latest developments from across the globe:

North America

Former US President Barack Obama has tested positive for COVID. 

"I've had a scratchy throat for a couple days, but am feeling fine otherwise," he wrote on Twitter. "Michelle and I are grateful to be vaccinated and boosted, and she has tested negative."


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country has been able to stop an "incursion" by Beijing into the Pacific islands by talking with leaders there weekly and offering vaccine aid.

"I talk to Pacific leaders every single week and that is what ensures that we can block the incursion into our region, because we share values with the Pacific," he said. Although Australia is historically the largest donor in the region, China has increased aid and provision of military equipment to Fiji.

Morrison said China had been "very clear" about aspirations to build a military base in the Pacific islands, but this had not occurred. He added that Australia has provided COVID-related aid in the region before other nations could offer support, in a TV interview.


Gernot Marx, the head of the Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (Divi) in Germany said face-masks should continue to be worn in indoor public areas even after March 20, when most of Germany's coronavirus restrictions will be rolled back. 

"Wearing masks is a proven and simple protective measure. It would be a mistake to give this up before we need to," he said, urging states to maintain the rule. 

The federal government has proposed a law to take effect from March 20 which gives more limited powers to the states to impose coronavirus restrictions

Indoor mask mandates will still be allowed at nursing homes, hospitals and public transport as well as testing in nursing homes and schools. Long-distance train and plane travelers will also be required to wear masks. 

Germany reported 146,607 new cases and 50 additional deaths in the past 24 hours. 

Germany in coronavirus turmoil

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced in an interview with Le Parisien that people aged 80 and older will now able be to get a fourth vaccine dose. 

Around 58% of people in France have already received a booster jab. The number of infections has been falling for the past few weeks, with a slight uptick recently.

France is also set to loosen its mask mandates on Monday, with mask no longer necessary at work or in school.

tg/aw (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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