China zero-Covid: Beijing reported its first death in nearly 6 months as cases soared

Hong Kong

China has reported its first death of Covid-19 patients in nearly six months as the country struggles to contain a surge in cases across multiple cities that are testing the limits of its aggressive zero Covid strategy.

On Monday, China’s National Health Commission reported that two people with Covid-19 had died in Beijing on 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 number since mid-April and the sixth consecutive day over 20,000.

Before this weekend, the latest Covid-19-related death in China occurred on May 26 in Shanghai, which was locked down for two months until June due to a major outbreak.

China is the world’s last major economy still to crack down on the coronavirus, which aims to crack down on chains of transmission through border restrictions, mass testing, mass quarantines, and sudden lockdowns of entire neighborhoods or cities — sometimes for months on end.

Earlier this month, the Chinese government announced a limited relaxation of its anti-coronavirus policy, Discourage unnecessary mass testing and overzealous classification of restricted “high risk” areas. It also eliminated quarantine requirements for secondary close contacts and reduced the time that close people and international arrivals must spend in quarantine.

After the announcement, several Chinese cities canceled mass Covid tests, but strict restrictions imposed by local authorities to contain the outbreak remain in place.

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

The city is the epicenter of the ongoing outbreak in China, reporting tens of thousands of cases and putting many districts under lockdown this month. Last week, some residents revolted against the prolonged lockdown, removing barricades and taking to the streets.

In Beijing, schools in many regions moved to online classes on Monday, with authorities reporting 962 infections on Sunday, up from 621 the day before. In Chaoyang, the hardest-hit district and home to many international businesses and embassies, the district government urged residents to stay home over the weekend, with many restaurants, gyms, beauty salons and other facilities closed.

Rising case numbers and accompanying controls have prompted more residents across China to question the costs of zero Covid measures.

For citizens trapped in the lockdown, recurring problems such as getting prompt medical care or enough food and supplies, or loss of work and income – have repeatedly led to suffering and tragedy, including many deaths believed to be linked to delays in accessing medical services. Care.

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

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