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China reports first covid-19 deaths in nearly 6 months as cases soar

China has reported its first deaths of Covid-19 patients in nearly six months as cases soar in multiple cities despite its strict zero-covid strategy. 

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

It comes as the Country is struggling with a spike in Covid cases, with the National Health Commission reporting 26,824 new infections on Sunday, the highest daily number in nearly six months. It also reported that it’s the sixth consecutive day with more than 20,000 Covid cases.

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

According to CNN, “the Chinese government announced a limited relaxation of its zero-Covid policy earlier this month, discouraging unnecessary mass testing and overzealous classification of restricted “high-risk” areas. It also eliminated the need for secondary close contacts to be quarantined and reduced the amount of time close contacts and international arrivals must spend in quarantine.”

After this announcement, several cities canceled mass Covid- 19 testing but the strict restrictions to curb outbreaks remain in place by local authorities.

According to the Chinese press, Authorities in Guangzhou’s southern metropolis imposed a five-day lockdown on Baiyun, the city’s most populous district with 3.7 million residents and home to one of the country’s busiest international airports, on Monday.

Epicenter of China’s ongoing outbreak:

According to CNN, the city is the epicenter of China’s ongoing outbreak, with tens of thousands of cases reported and several districts closed down this month. Some residents protested an extended lockdown last week, tearing down barriers and marching down streets. On Monday, schools in several districts in Beijing switched to online classes after cases soar in the city. The district government in Chaoyang, the hardest-hit district and home to many international businesses and embassies urged residents to stay home over the weekend, with many restaurants, gyms, beauty salons, and other facilities closed.

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