China reports 3,472 new local COVID-19 cases

Beijing [China], April 15 (ANI): China on Thursday reported 3,472 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Friday.

Of these new locally transmitted cases, China's economic hub Shanghai reported 3,200 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and 19,872 local asymptomatic carriers, Xinhua reported.

It further reported that apart from Shanghai, 20 other provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland saw new local COVID-19 cases, including 174 in the northeastern province of Jilin, and two in Beijing.

Shanghai authorities have imposed draconian lockdown measures since March that have locked 25 million residents in their homes.

On April 3, the Chinese government announced the deployment of thousands of military personnel to Shanghai to assist in the mandatory testing of all 25 million residents for the virus that causes Covid-19.

On April 4, Shanghai authorities said the city would indefinitely remain under lockdown - meaning that residents are not allowed to leave their homes, as it reviews the results of the mass Covid testing.

Meanwhile, China on Tuesday defended its coronavirus measures that reportedly have resulted in hardship in several Chinese cities including the global financial hub Shanghai.

Speaking at the press conference on Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the country's "dynamic" zero-COVID policy and anti-epidemic protocols are based on science and expert opinions.

"They have effectively protected the life and health of Chinese and foreign nationals living in China and made important contributions to the global fight against the pandemic. The international community, the WHO included, has spoken highly of them," he said.

This response comes as the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said COVID lockdowns have caused "significant disruptions" for many companies. Nearly half of German firms said in a survey their supply chains have been impacted.

Further defending the country's COVID-19 policies, the Chinese spokesperson said although these measures have had some impact on daily life and production, the effect is limited in both duration and scope.

He said all prevention and control measures "come at a price."