China: Shanghai reports first Covid deaths since start of lockdown

Shanghai: China’s economic hub Shanghai reported the first deaths of the COVID-19 outbreak, along with 2,417 local confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, according to a media report on Monday.

Three people, who died were aged between 89 and 91 and all had underlying diseases. “Shanghai registered 2,417 local confirmed COVID19 cases and 19,831 local asymptomatic carriers on Sunday when three deaths were reported, who are seniors aged between 89 and 91, with severe underlying disease,” Global Times said in a Tweet.

The municipal health commission said on Sunday said that Shanghai has reported 3,238 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.

Xinhua News Agency reported that the city also recorded 21,582 local asymptomatic carriers during that period, as per commission.

Across China, cities are locking down their residents, supply lines are rupturing, and officials are scrambling to secure the movement of basic goods — as its largest ever recorded outbreak of COVID-19 threatens to spiral into a national crisis of the government’s own making.

At least 44 Chinese cities are under either a full or partial lockdown as authorities persist in trying to curb the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, according to a report from investment bank Nomura and CNN’s own reporting as of Thursday.

In Shanghai, the epicentre of the country’s latest outbreak, scenes once unimaginable for the hyper-modern financial capital have become part of the daily struggle for 25 million people.

There, residents forbidden to leave the confines of their apartments or housing blocks for weeks have been desperate for food and freedom — some seen in social media clips screaming out of their windows in frustration or clashing with hazmat-clad workers. Even after the release of a tentative plan Monday for the partial relaxation of measures, there appears to be no end in sight, reported CNN.

The current situation may mark the most significant challenge for the country — and, arguably, for Chinese leader Xi Jinping against zero Covid policy.

As of Tuesday, health authorities said more than 320,000 local COVID-19 cases had been reported across 31 provinces, including those in Shanghai, since March 1.

Getting supplies across the country has become a steep challenge, with some expressways closed, and truck drivers ensnared in quarantine or at thousands of highway health checkpoints.

Some cities have discouraged their residents from leaving, like the major southern port of Guangzhou, which requires its 18 million people to show a negative COVID test if they want to get out.

Moreover, the zero-covid policy has sparked mounting frustration and anger in Shanghai and threatens more disruption amplifying the risks for the Communist Party.

“Economic slowdown is quite a big concern,” said Alfred Wu, an associate professor in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. (ANI)


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