SHANGHAI, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Omicron variant, which spreads faster than Delta, will result in a hospitalization surge and overload the healthcare system, said Zhang Wenhong, head of the Center for Infectious Diseases with the Shanghai-based Huashan Hospital of Fudan University. He added that the battle between humanity and the Omicron variant is at its "toughest moment."
In a blog on China's microblogging platform Weibo on Thursday, Zhang said that the number of imported COVID-19 infections in Shanghai reached a record high. He said vaccines and COVID-19 drugs are the core scientific underpinning to tide over the pandemic and return to regular life in the future.
After comparing the clinical symptoms of patients infected with the new Omicron variant and Delta, Zhang's team found that Omicron is "more contagious, harder to detect, and has an unneglectable lethality."
Citing a WHO statement that the Omicron variant carries a "very high global surge risk," Zhang said the best strategy for China is to remain patient and step up vaccination while adhering to the current COVID-19 prevention tactics.
The Omicron variant has been identified as the culprit of recent COVID-19 resurgences in Tianjin and Henan's Anyang. Infections with this latest, highly infectious variant have also occurred in several Chinese cities, including Changsha and Guangzhou.