China Reports First Covid-19 Deaths in Nearly 6 Months as Cases Rise | CNN



China has reported its first Covid-19 patient deaths in nearly six months as the country struggles to contain a spate of multi-city cases that are testing the limits of its hardline zero-Covid strategy.

On Monday, China’s National Health Commission reported two deaths of Covid-19 patients in Beijing for Sunday, following the death of an 87-year-old man in the capital on Saturday.

It comes as the country faces a surge in cases, with 26,824 new infections reported on Sunday, according to the National Health Commission — the highest daily count since mid-April and the sixth consecutive day over 20,000.

Before this weekend, China’s most recent Covid-19-related death was on May 26 in Shanghai, which was on lockdown for two months until June due to a major outbreak.

China is the world’s last major economy still enforcing strict zero-Covid measures, which aim to eradicate transmission chains through border restrictions, mass testing, extensive quarantines and rapid lockdowns of neighborhoods or entire cities – sometimes for months.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government announced a limited relaxation of its zero-Covid policy, discouraging unnecessary mass testing and overly zealous classification of “high risk” areas of limited risk. It also removed quarantine requirements for secondary close contacts and reduced the time close contacts and international arrivals must spend in quarantine.

Following the announcement, several Chinese cities canceled mass Covid testing, but severe restrictions imposed by local authorities to contain outbreaks remain in place.

In the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, authorities on Monday imposed a five-day lockdown on Baiyun, the city’s most populous district of 3.7 million and home to one of the country’s busiest international airports.

The city is the epicenter of China’s ongoing outbreak, with tens of thousands of cases reported this month and several districts under lockdown. Last week, some residents rioted against an extended lockdown, tearing down barriers and marching through the streets.

In Beijing, schools in several districts switched to online classes on Monday as authorities reported 962 infections for Sunday, up from 621 a day earlier. In Chaoyang, the worst-hit district and home to many international companies and embassies, the district government urged residents to stay home for the weekend, with numerous restaurants, gyms, beauty salons and other facilities closed.

The rising number of cases and associated controls have prompted more residents across China to question the cost of zero-Covid measures.

For citizens trapped in lockdown, recurring problems, such as access to prompt medical care or adequate food and supplies, or the loss of work and income, have again and again led to hardship and tragedy, including numerous deaths believed to be related with delayed access to medical care. concern.

In the central city of Zhengzhou, the death of a 4-month-old girl in hotel quarantine last week sparked nationwide outrage — the second death of a child under Covid restrictions this month.

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