China has announced its first death from coronavirus in almost half a year as stringent new measures are imposed in the capital, Beijing, and across the country to prevent new outbreaks.
The National Health Commission on Sunday reported the death of an 87-year-old Beijing man — the first since May 26 — adding that it had recorded more than 24,000 infections throughout the country over the previous day.
The last death was reported in Shanghai which witnessed a major spike in COVID-19 infections over the summer.
While the world is adjusting to living with the coronavirus, China has held on to its firm “zero–COVID” policy aimed at wiping out infections through mass testing, case tracing, lockdowns and quarantines.
Earlier this month, Beijing suddenly announced its most significant easing of coronavirus restrictions yet, including a reduction of quarantine times for international arrivals.
However, there were no relaxations in the “zero-Covid” approach, even as it has led to massive social and economic consequences.
In a sign that China’s reopening three years into the pandemic may yet be interrupted, residents in Beijing — where 621 daily cases were reported Sunday — were told not to travel between city districts.
A large number of restaurants, shops, malls, office and apartment blocks have also been shuttered or isolated.
Various parks, sports halls and gyms are closed.
Meanwhile, the southern city of Guangzhou — a hotspot of the current spread — recorded 8,000 new infections on Sunday, leading to a general screening in the district of Haizhu where about 1.8 million people reside.
The megacity had seen demonstrators, irked over a renewed lockdown, clash with the police last week. – DW.
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