Covid-19: China records its first two deaths in more than a year


Under the effect of the more contagious Omicron variant, the country experienced a major epidemic rebound.

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This is a new sign of the resumption of the epidemic in China. The country has recorded its first two deaths from Covid-19 in more than a year, the National Health Commission announced on Saturday March 19. These deaths, which occurred in the province of Jilin in the northeast of the country, are the first since January 26, 2021 in mainland China – excluding Hong Kong and Macao – and bring the official toll of the pandemic in mainland China to 4,638 dead. Authorities recorded 4,051 new infections across the country on Saturday and 4,365 the day before.

The country, where the first coronavirus cases emerged in late 2019, then kept the outbreak under control through strict border control, lengthy quarantines and targeted lockdowns. But the highly contagious Omicron variant has come to threaten that strategy, forcing authorities to lock down cities like the Shenzhen tech hub and its 17.5 million people in southern China.

The world’s second largest economy, which recorded less than 100 cases a day just three weeks ago, has announced more than a thousand new daily infections for the past week. President Xi Jinping assured Thursday that the government “sticks” to the so-called “zero-Covid” strategy, according to public television. “We must always put people and their lives first, stick […] to the zero Covid policy, and to stop the spread of the epidemic as quickly as possible”he ordered.

Tens of millions of people are currently confined to their homes across the country and authorities have scrambled to free up hospital beds amid fears the outbreak could put the healthcare system under severe strain. Beijing has made its low death rate a political argument, saying it demonstrates the power of its governance model.



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