China flu outbreak intensifies as infection rises for sixth week


An influenza outbreak in China picked up intensity over the past week as a major city prepared to enforce pandemic-style lockdowns to curb the surge in infections.

The positivity rate for flu jumped to 41.6% in the week beginning March 5 from 25.1% the previous week, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in its weekly COVID-19 surveillance report on Saturday. The COVID-19 positivity rate was down to 3.8% from 5.1%.

The northwestern city of Xi’an said earlier this week it would employ measures similar to those used to curb COVID-19 as part of its plan to contain influenza outbreaks, with school and business closures included in the response.

The city of 13 million residents was locked down for a month in 2021 because of COVID-19, with residents largely barred from leaving their homes.

The positivity rate has increased for six consecutive weeks and started to increase more sharply in mid-February, according to government data.

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