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China's Shanghai Records First Official COVID Deaths Since It Went Into Lockdown

Two of the infected seniors were women aged 89 and 91, while the third senior was a 91-year-old man.

Published
COVID-19
2 min read
China's Shanghai Records First Official COVID Deaths Since It Went Into Lockdown
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China's Shanghai on Sunday, 17 April, recorded three COVID-19 deaths for the first time since the city went into lockdown three weeks ago, after three infected seniors died.

Two of the infected seniors were women aged 89 and 91, while the third senior was a 91-year-old man. The deceased reportedly had underlying health conditions and had not taken vaccines, reported The Guardian.

Municipal authorities said the three had been admitted to the hospital after they fell critically ill. They subsequently died on Sunday after all efforts to help them failed.

Meanwhile, according to the data available until 5 April, over 92 million people in China above the age of 65 continue to remain unvaccinated. The figure also includes 20.2 million people who are aged over 80 years.

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Background

Shanghai, a city of more than 26 million people (second only to Chongqing), has entered its third week of lockdown. The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has so far affected around 3,20,000 people of the region since March.

In recent weeks, several other cities of China have also been witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases. The current outbreak in the country is considered to be its worst since the beginning of the pandemic in late 2019.

Although the COVID-19 cases have been high, the deaths induced by the virus have largely been minimal, as authorities mostly attributed the deaths of COVID infected persons to their underlying health conditions and did not count them as COVID-19 deaths.

Speaking at a press conference, first level inspector of municipal health commission, Wu Qianyu, also indicated this. He said the underlying health condition in the three seniors was the direct cause for their deaths.

As many as 22, 248 cases were reported in Shanghai on Sunday. Of the total cases, 19,831 were asymptomatic cases. At least 1,414 cases were reported from outside quarantine and isolation facilities. All COVID-19 infected people excluding those who need hospitalisation are sent to these facilities.

Officials said they would consider the outbreak as contained when no new cases of coronavirus are reported outside these facilities.

Reuters had on Monday reported that authorities had come up with a plan, including easing of restrictions, to curb virus spread outside the quarantined buildings.

The local administration has continued to use the 'zero-COVID' approach that China has employed since the beginning of the pandemic.

Last week, that approach had begun to adversely impact the residents of Shanghai. In videos that went viral on social media, residents of China's commercial hub were heard screaming out of their houses. As the country's COVID-19 guidelines did not allow anyone to step out, people also were having to face severe food and medical supplies shortage. Small riots also broke out due to this.

(With inputs from The Guardian, Reuters)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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