Shanghai reports first Covid deaths since start of lockdown
Shanghai reported the first deaths of its surging Covid-19 outbreak, the biggest flareup China has had to deal with during the pandemic.
Three people died on Sunday, according to Shanghai’s municipal government. They were aged between 89 and 91 and all had underlying diseases.
The newly reported deaths are the first since two people passed away in mid-March in the northeastern province of Jilin. They were the first Covid fatalities in more than a year in China, where a strict zero tolerance approach contained the virus until the more infectious delta and omicron variants emerged last year.
Suspicions had been growing about potential Covid-related deaths, particularly among the elderly, before the announcement. Two elderly-care facilities in Shanghai have been battling outbreaks triggered by the omicron variant, and fatalities have occurred, according to the Wall Street Journal, Caixin and other local media. Until now, no deaths have been reported officially.
The lockdown and repeated testing of Shanghai’s 25 million residents hasn’t yet stopped infections, with more than 22,000 cases reported Sunday.
Shanghai is the epicenter of China’s worst Covid outbreak since Wuhan more than two years ago. But most people infected with the virus have few if any symptoms, according to the government, and the reported number of severely ill patients remains negligible.
The omicron variant has surged through the population, infecting everyone from a newborn who was just 10 days old to someone nearing 100, according to the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission.
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