2,000 military medical staff sent to Shanghai over COVID surge

© Kyodo News

China has sent about 2,000 military medical staff and thousands of health care workers to Shanghai as COVID-19 infections continued to increase Monday in the country's most important financial center.

The medical personnel from various units affiliated with the People's Liberation Army were dispatched Sunday to the megacity of 26 million people, which remains mostly under lockdown amid mass testing for the coronavirus, according to official media.

Chinese health authorities said Monday that 13,137 new cases were reported nationwide in the previous 24 hours, of which 9,006, mostly asymptomatic, were confirmed in Shanghai.

The outbreak, driven by the highly transmissible BA.2 Omicron subvariant of the coronavirus, is challenging China's stringent "zero COVID" policy.

In addition to the personnel from the PLA's army, navy and joint logistics forces, Shanghai received Monday more than 20,000 medics from across the country for its toughest fight against the spread of the virus since the initial outbreak in Wuhan more than two years ago, the official China Daily reported on its website.

Shanghai is set to complete nucleic acid tests of all its residents within 36 hours starting on Monday, according to the daily.