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IANS

The scientist who warned the world about the Omicron Covid-19 variant has told China its 'Zero Covid' police won't work against the super-transmissible mutant strain, the Daily Mail reported.

The Chinese city of Xian's 13 million residents were ordered on Thursday into a draconian stay-at-home lockdown because of 250 cases.

It means all households may only send one household member outside once every two days to shop for necessities.

But Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) in South Africa, said the measures won't work.

He wrote on Twitter: "China will have great difficulty with Omicron and zero covid policy.

"They may need to join the rest of the world with mitigation strategies. China should not punish its public health officials or citizens or foreigners because a more transmissible variant."

It is not known what variant the Chinese outbreak is but Omicron is thought to be the most likely, the report said.

It comes after dozens of Communist officials in China have been punished for failing to stop the Covid-19 outbreak in Xian.

China's disciplinary body announced the punishments of the officials on Friday, the latest state reprimands under Beijing's strict zero Covid approach.

China, where the Covid-19 was first detected in late 2019, is on high alert for new cases as it prepares to hold the Winter Olympics in February in the capital Beijing, and as the more infectious variant Omicron spreads rapidly around the globe.

The world's most populous nation claims to have reduced cases to a minimum thanks to its zero Covid strategy of tight border restrictions, lengthy quarantines and rapidly implemented, targeted lockdowns, the report added.

Omicron variant
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